I sat down today with City Manager Kevin Hugman to discuss the upcoming July 4th celebration and the plan to not have a fireworks show again this year.
I told Mr. Hugman about my own experience in 2012, and how I had taken my granddaughter to see the display. Neither of us felt safe, and in 2013 we decided to watch the fireworks from afar. We are glad we made this decision, because even with an increased police presence, there were incidents and even some gunfire. The city did not have a fireworks display in 2014.
I was pleased to learn that the city has not abandoned the issue, rather has been hard at work to find a solution that works for everyone. The main concern is the safety of the people who come to the park to see the show, as well as the surrounding businesses. The discussions included adding a larger police presence, controlling admission to the show, charging admission to the show and even changing location. None of these proposed solutions was acceptable, as each had a significant problem.
There is, however, a solution in the works that just may work for everyone. The city is starting to speak with the other Best Southwest cities to try and create a regional celebration. The talks are in the early stages, so no real details are available, and this would not have any effect on this year’s celebration. Some of the other cities are better suited for handling the crowds, and have better locations for the fireworks display.
Now, just because there will be no fireworks again this year, does not mean the holiday is cancelled. The city will still be having all the other great family events that help us to celebrate our country’s birthday. I think that’s great. Fireworks are pretty, but I’d rather my granddaughter, and every one else’s family members, be safe.