As published in the Record Journal, Thursday May 26, 2011
By Russell Blair
WALLINGFORD — With help from the New Life Church and the Rev. Will Marotti, fundraising efforts for town’s Independence Day weekend fireworks display may reach the amount needed.
Jason Zandri, who has coordinated the event since the town dropped financing for it last year, said the New Life Church agreed Tuesday to match up to $2,500 in donations Zandri receives before Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr.’s Friday afternoon deadline.
“They reached out to me and said they wanted to do something,” Zandri said.
“We’ve been in Meriden for 11 years and we’re always looking for ways to add value back to the community,” Marotti said. “We’ve been having weekly services in Wallingford for a year, and we thought this was a good way we could do something to bless the community.”
Wednesday afternoon, Zandri said the group was still about $5,000 short of the $24,150 needed, including $7,750 of overtime pay for police officers to work the event, which draws around 10,000 visitors.
Zandri said he asked Dickinson for an extension to Tuesday, but the mayor wouldn’t budge. Dickinson said last week the town needed to know by Friday to allow time for securing state permits and scheduling employees from the Police Department, Public Works and the Fire Department.
Despite the looming deadline, Zandri is optimistic that the money will be raised in time. Last year, Choate Rosemary Hall donated $5,000 to fund the show.
“I’m pretty optimistic, we’re pushing hard to get this,” Zandri said. “I know checks are coming, I’ve had some people call and say they were sending more money in. It’s going to be a photo finish, but we’ll clear the line.”