By Tribune Staff
The City of Lee’s Summit recently announced that there would be no Legacy Blast event this year for the second year in a year. Legacy Blast was not held in 2020 due to the Jackson County Health Department COVID-19 gathering restrictions. Funding for this year’s event was not included in the City Manager’s budget when passed last June.
At the Monday, May 17, 2021, meeting of the City’s Finance and Budget Committee, City Manager Steve Arbo presented information regarding the decisions and factors that led to Legacy Blast not being held this year.
During his presentation, Arbo stated that during last year’s budget process, the City was anticipating significant revenue reductions due to projected loss in local sales tax revenues as the result of COVID shutdowns. The City’s budget for FY 20/21 was passed by Council in June 2020 and did not include monies for the 2021 Legacy Blast as the City Manager was attempting to reduce the City’s operations budget to only “critical governmental services.”
Arbo also stated that he had checked with the fireworks vendor to see if it was possible to do a fireworks show the first week of July. Arbo said the vendor gave a price of $28,000 and needed a signed contract by May 28.
Arbo said that this free event averages more than 20,000 attendees each year and costs the City about $50,000. That includes the cost of fireworks, entertainment, staff hours and other direct and indirect costs. Planning for the annual event usually starts in March, he said.
Parks and Recreation Administrator Joe Snook said that Thursday, July 1, or Friday, July 2, are the only dates to have the event due to various ball tournaments that are already scheduled for that weekend at Legacy. He also said the Parks and Recreation Board members have not discussed Legacy Blast.
The committee made a recommendation to send to Council for discussion the possibility of allocating $50,000 this year for a Legacy Blast event on July 1. This item was discussed by Council on May 18.
At the May 18 City Council meeting, Mayor Bill Baird and the Council discussed whether to try to move forward this year to have a smaller Legacy Blast event or perhaps host another community celebration sometime later in the year.
After much discussion, most councilmembers expressed the need to do something for the community and the citizens who have supported the City and local businesses, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Mayor Bill Baird concluded the discussion directing Snook and Arbo to talk with staff as well as the members of the Parks and Recreation Board and come up with ideas for a community event and discuss whether it is possible to do this year. He also asked members of the Budget and Finance Committee to determine whether there are indeed funds available to do anything this year.