Thousands of people were left disappointed at the end of a long Independence Day when their yearly tradition of watching fireworks from Kingwood Town Center and the surrounding area didn't go as expected.
In past years, the fireworks display that Kingwood Country Club hosts on its golf course was clearly visible to those at Town Center, Kingwood High School and nearby, since it was launched at the east end of the golf course. The decision by the club to move the launch site to the 18th hole this year, almost a whole mile away and near the country club itself, left many in the dark as the fireworks couldn't be seen by those anticipating them. Those that heard but did not see the opening volley also noted that it was much later than expected.
That night and the next day, hundreds took to social media to voice their displeasure. The kingwood.com and nextdoor.com websites were some of the places where residents expressed their ire, along with various Facebook pages.
Tony Austin, the director of Town Center Park Association, was quick to respond, releasing this statement on July 5 which read in part: "I agreed to the relocation of the fireworks firing site based on meetings with the Kingwood Country Club and the pyrotech engineer. I knew that there was a risk but believed it was acceptable. I was wrong and I apologize for the disaster that resulted from that decision. We all believed that the higher elevation of the firing site would overcome the additional distance from the park. I don't know why we were so wrong and do not yet know the reason for the long delay in firing. I will work on understanding those in the next few days and update you when I know."
After days of silence, The Clubs of Kingwood responded to the criticism on July 8, promising a makeup show and even opening their water park to non-members for a day.
"For more than 45 years, The Clubs of Kingwood has been a part of the foundation of the Kingwood community. We take great pride in being a part of this community, including the many Kingwood events, festivals and, especially, the neighborhood Fourth of July celebrations. For more than 10 years, Kingwood Country Club has served as the host site of the fireworks display.
This year’s decision by Town Center Park, The Clubs of Kingwood and the pyrotech engineer to move the community fireworks display to a higher elevation was not intended to limit visibility to those in the community. It was, in fact, moved with the understanding [that] the new location would provide a better view for surrounding areas. We regret this did not happen and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience to your holiday plans. As a gesture of our commitment to the Kingwood community, we, along with Town Center Park, will provide a Labor Day weekend fireworks show. More information will be communicated – including the best viewing locations – as the details are finalized.”
The country club is also extending an invitation to the public to enjoy a day at their popular water park, asking those who wish to attend to RSVP as space is limited. We also will be opening the Club Water Park to the community on July 21 from 12-8 p.m. Please stop by and enjoy our two pools, diving area, Big Kahuna water slide, lazy river and more. Please RSVP ahead of time by visiting events.clubcorp.com/KingwoodCommunity and completing a short form so that you and your family are added to our guest list. We look forward to seeing you!"