When we called him yesterday morning, Minneapolis City Council member Jacob Frey was clearly pissed off about a 12:30 a.m. fireworks show that was part of the MLB All-Star Game festivities.
Frey's indignation was understandable. After all, as the Downtown Journal reported last month, residents living in the vicinity of Mill Ruins Park were told to expect nothing more than a 10-minute "pyrotechnic/water show" beginning at 11:45 p.m. Monday night. Furthermore, Frey tells us loud booms weren't supposed to be part of the show. But not only did the MLB get things going more than a half-hour late, the fireworks were so loud that they had some folks in far-away neighborhoods waking up and wondering if they were hearing gunshots.
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Here's what Frey, whose ward included Mill Ruins Park, said about the fireworks show on Twitter:
But Frey later stepped back from that second tweet:
@chris_steller the city did not issue the permits. The fireworks were not authorized. I am furious-- Jacob Frey (@Jacob_Frey) July 15, 2014
When we spoke with Frey yesterday morning, he said he was working on getting an apology from the MLB. Hours later, his mission was accomplished:
Correction - I am learning more on how the fireworks permits were issued. I do know is that I did NOT give authorization for what happened-- Jacob Frey (@Jacob_Frey) July 15, 2014
We contacted the mayor's office for more. They sent us this statement from the MLB:
MLB/Twins issued apology for going outside agreed firework parameters. I asked that impacted residents get free twins tickets. They agreed-- Jacob Frey (@Jacob_Frey) July 15, 2014
When planning for this once-in-a-lifetime event, we had numerous meetings about the All-Star Gala with the Twins and Minneapolis Parks and Rec Board to create a memorable event that would be a showcase for the City of Minneapolis while being respectful to residents. While the entities agreed to conduct a light fireworks display at midnight, the show that the fireworks vendor executed was louder and longer than what we were expecting. Major League Baseball and the Twins apologize to area residents for any inconvenience.Mayor Betsy Hodges responded with this statement of her own:
Last night's fireworks show was bigger, louder and more disruptive than anyone expected. We're looking at ways to make sure something like this doesn't happen again. We appreciate the apology from MLB and the Twins, and we look forward to a great event tonight.Toward the end of the workday, we got in touch with Frey again. He told us many of the permitting decisions about the fireworks show were apparently made either without his involvement or before he took office, which explains some of his confusion on Twitter.
"What was agreed to and what the Downtown Journal had them saying was totally different from what happened," Frey says. "Most of the coordination was through the Parks Board, since the party was on Parks Board property, but in speaking with officials from the Parks Board, they didn't approve it."
Asked who will receive the free Twins tickets he promised, Frey says that remains to be seen.
"I wish I could give tickets to the whole city," Frey says. "What I'm thinking is, give 'em out to the neighborhood associations in surrounding areas, but I need to figure out how many tickets we have."
Send your story tips to the author, Aaron Rupar. Follow him on Twitter @atrupar.