Be aware: fireworks to be tested Sunday
February 8, 2017
Rifle residents may get startled by loud explosion-like noises on Sunday, but should not be alarmed. The city will be testing a new site for the Fourth of July fireworks display at approximately 7:30 p.m. on Sunday.
"We want residents to be aware that we will be testing a new launch site for Fourth of July fireworks on Sunday," Parks and Recreation Director Tom Whitmore said. "The goal is to see if the new site will be viable for Centennial Park viewing."
Rifle's firework show had been launched from the Rifle Middle School football field for a number of years, but concerns over the security of the nearby facility's roof compelled Whitmore and the rest of the Parks and Recreation staff to look for possible alternatives. The new site, which will be tested on Sunday, will be at the Rifle High School soccer field, as it is believed to be a more isolated and controlled location. That theory will be tested on Sunday.
"The goal is to continue to provide an optimal viewing site at Centennial Park, where the public can attend the Symphony in the Valley performance and view the fireworks show from the park," Whitmore said in the Parks and Recreation press release.
Aside from ensuring that the new site is safer and provides more protection for nearby buildings, the goal of the upcoming test will be to guarantee that those that view the firework display from Centennial Park will have the perfect view for the entirety of the show.
"It may be obvious that the fireworks shows will work fine at Rifle High School or it may become obvious that it won't work," Whitmore explained. "Our goal is to have a display that can be viewed anywhere from downtown."
Since the firework display had been launched from Rifle Middle School for a number of years, the city and Parks and Recreation Department knew exactly how it looked from different vantage points throughout downtown. They do not yet know how it will look from Centennial Park if launched from Rifle High School.
The test will last around eight to 10 minutes with combination of consecutive fireworks and fireworks with short intervals as spotters communicate their recommendation.
"We are dong the test to find out if people can view it from different spots," said Planning Director Nathan Lindquist. "The purpose is to get feedback."
Those helping to test out the new site will be stationed throughout Rifle, but the main objective will be to ensure that the fireworks can be effectively seen from Centennial Park.
Symphony of the Valley will once again be performing at the city's traditional Independence Day celebration on July 3, and the city wants to make sure that the show will be seen if launched from a different location.
Lindquist added that the relocated show will cost around $10,000, the same as its predecessors, with a small increase for the test. If the test is canceled on Sunday, the city has identified an alternate date on the following Monday, between 7:30 and 9 p.m., to conduct the test. Whitmore said that if it determined that Rifle High School will not work as a potential launch point for the firework show, Whitmore said that Plan B is to work out a way to have it back at the Middle School.
City staff and members from several community boards will be on site at Centennial Park to determine if the site and current level of fireworks will be viable if the high school location is used. If the public wishes to offer input from their respective vantage points around town, please email your observations by Feb. 17 to Tom Whitmore at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments can also be shared on Rifle Parks & Recreation Facebook page.
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