Quieted fireworks shot after Columbia Fireflies baseball games also have calmed complaints from a neighbors who objected to the noisy shows.
“We’re doing about as quiet a show as anyone could do and still have a good show,” owner of the minor league team, Jason Freier, said Thursday. “The big thing that we did was eliminate the salutes.”
Salutes is a term for the loudest portions of fireworks show, which are composed of a variety of fireworks, each having its own special effect, Freier said. Some are for sound. Some are for colors. Some are for the spread or height of the display.
Elizabeth Marks, president of the Historic Robert Mills Neighborhood Association and one of the loudest critics of stadium noise, said the change is an improvement.
“It doesn’t seem to be the explosive, concussive type of fireworks that they’ve used before,” Marks said. “They were concussive where they would shake your windows.”
Freier said he began scaling back the noise after the April 14 inaugural game at the $37 million, city-owned stadium. It took about a few games of experimentation before his company, Hardball Capital, was satisfied it had toned down the racket to a point it would be acceptable to neighbors and still appeal to fans at games.
The number of people who complained was small, never more than “you could count on one hand,” Freier said.
But that was enough to spur changes in an effort to become better neighbors for the ballpark, which remains a point of contention to critics of its public financing and because Hardball commissioned a noise study that excluded the sound generated by fireworks. In addition, the contract with Hardball to run the stadium gives City Hall no control over fireworks and many other aspects of the ballpark’s operation.
Kirk Foster, vice president of the nearby Cottontown Neighborhood Association, said only a handful of his neighbors had any complaint about the initial fireworks.
Foster said that he and his partner recently spread a blanket on a lawn near their home to take in to fireworks show. “We said, ‘Wow! These are kind of quieter,’ ” the University of South Carolina professor said.
The light shows punctuate weekend home games or special events, he said. Thursday night, the game was followed by a tribute to Prince with purple fireworks and a display of red Corvettes at the stadium’s entrance plaza to honor the late singer.