As published in the Record Journal Thursday March 22, 2012
By Russell Blair
WALLINGFORD — The Wallingford Fireworks Fund has received its largest donation ever, a $10,000 sponsorship from the owners of the Campus at Greenhill.
The fund was established in 2009 after the town cut funding for the annual Fourth of July fireworks celebration. For the past two years, private donations have paid for the celebration.
Town Councilor Jason Zandri, who started the fund with fellow Councilor Craig Fishbein, said earlier this year he wasn’t optimistic about reaching the $30,000 goal by the May deadline. That has changed.
“I see a lot more probability that we’re going to make the deadline,” he said Wednesday. Representatives of Gale Development Services, which owns Campus at Greenhill, an office complex at Route 68 and Leigus Road, said they wanted to do something to reach out and engage with the town, Zandri said. He expected the partnership to continue.
“You cannot have sustainability and growth of the event without a solid partner and I believe that is what Campus at Greenhill brings to the effort,” Zandri said.
Fishbein praised Gale. “Every year, it is quite thrilling to see the thousands of people coming together on our nation’s birthday, gathering as a community, to view the spectacular fireworks display,” he said.
Joe Peters of Gale Development said that the company was interested in doing something to thank the town for “their ongoing help and support that has allowed for Campus at Greenhill to recover from the challenges it faced.”
Workstage Connecticut LLC, the developer of the property owned by Gale, was accepted into a seven-year tax-abatement program last year. The company receives an annual break of 20 percent on its tax bill, or $55,467.
Last year, the $24,150 for the show was raised with little time to spare. Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. said the check was delivered to the town at 2:30 p.m. on May 27, 2011. His deadline was 5 p.m.
A $2,500 donation from New Life Church helped the charity reach its goal in 2011. Similarly, a $5,000 gift from Choate Rosemary Hall in 2010 pushed the fund past its $30,000 goal. This year’s show will be named for the Campus at Greenhill to recognize its donation.
Information about the fireworks fundraising is available at http://wallingfordfireworks.blogspot.com