On Monday, Keith Housholder of Housholder Law Firm met with the Webster County Commissioners to discuss the possibility of having a bounce house on the Fourth of July parade in Marshfield.
For the last two years, Housholder has set up inflatable activities on the northwest corner of the Webster County Courthouse, following the parade on the square. The first year involved inflatable soccer ball bubbles, while the second year featured bounce houses, which were a huge success, according to Housholder.
"We man the inflatables ourselves," said Housholder. "We got the insurance and everything taken care of. Bounce houses are popular, and we’re going to do it again. It is for the children. We get very little business off of something like bounce houses, but this is our way of giving back to the community. It's out of our own pockets and free."
Housholder mentioned a suggestion made by Northern District Commissioner Dale Fraker during a discussion they had on Friday about putting the bounce house on the parking lot next to the new Webster County Justice Center. Housholder said he has reservations about putting a bounce house on pavement.
"You don’t want kids plummeting out of that," said Housholder. "You're going to have abrasions or concussions. You’re going to have something. It's just hard to watch that many kids and how they’re going to exit."
Housholder said, "If the northwest corner is going to be repaired, or at least filled in and seeded by that time, then there shouldn't be any reason not to (for three hours on one day) to put bounce houses on there.
"I can turn them toward the sidewalks where people have five steps to get into the bounce house and five steps to get back out, but the bounce house is on the grass."
Fraker explained to Housholder that the county has nothing to do with the parade or the vendors set up on the square. The commission controls the interior part of the square.
"We had the dig up that heap pile because it just didn't work," said Fraker. "It's still tore up and we have a pit on the north side of the building. Like I said, I can’t guarantee it'll be fixed. There's still a lot of work to be done here because there's going to be some other improvements done to the crosswalk that’s going to go across to the new jail. That's had some sidewalk issues. I can’t guarantee it's going to be fixed. It may still be roped up."
Fraker told Housholder he thinks the bounce house is a great service and doesn’t care where Housholder puts it, which is why he offered the new Justice Center parking lot as a possible spot for the bounce house. However, Fraker said it’s just an issue about safety.
Fraker, along with Southern District Commissioner Randy Owens, noted they couldn’t promise the ground would be finished in time for the parade, especially with weather playing a factor. Housholder said he understood the commissioners’ point of view and the uncertainty regarding the construction completion, but his reason for showing up was mainly to address the issue of miscommunication regarding why he couldn’t use the corner part of the courthouse for the bounce house in the event it were finished.
As for alternatives, Housholder said he was able to look into a flat, grassy area next to the Justice Center parking lot that could possibly be an option for the bounce house. The Webster County Commissioners gave him the approval to use that area. In addition, they agreed Housholder could do the bounce house as part of their function for the open house tours of the new Justice Center on the Fourth of July. The open house tours and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Justice Center are still in the planning stages, according to Fraker.
In a phone call Tuesday to The Mail, Housholder said that he had invited the Webster County Bar Association to help provide fun events in the area discussed, and that programming appears to be a go. The Housholder firm will provide the bounce houses, but other attorneys will contribute to other fun offerings for children, with details to come in a future edition of The Mail.