City ponies up for fireworks |

City ponies up for fireworks

John StroudPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Glenwood Springs’ Fourth of July fireworks display is on, after private business donors and individuals stepped up to meet a $9,000 fundraising challenge put forth by city council.Council formally committed at its Thursday night meeting to match the amount and cover the $18,000 cost for a fireworks vendor to put on the traditional holiday show above Two Rivers Park.”I appreciate the community involvement here, and just want to say thanks to everybody who helped make it happen,” Mayor Matt Steckler said.The fundraising effort had been about $1,300 short of the goal Thursday morning until a last-minute donor, described as by Steckler as “a prominent business person,” made up the difference.The bulk of the private donations, almost $8,300, came from 24 different local businesses and organizations, according to a list distributed by the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, which was asked by the city to help spearhead the effort. Another $685 came from individual contributors.”The business community in this town continues to be generous and amazing, even in light of the fact that many of them are struggling right now,” GSCRA Executive Director Marianne Virgili said.”This is a tourist town, and our guests expect us to have fireworks on the Fourth of July,” she said. “We are delighted that our business community came to the plate, and that we’ll be having a celebration of our nation’s birthday this year.”With the news, the Symphony in the Valley confirmed that it, too, will present its annual concert of patriotic songs prior to the fireworks. The music will begin at 8 p.m. at the Two Rivers Park amphitheater.”We’ll play for about an hour, with the last downbeat signaling the fireworks to start,” orchestra board of directors president Dave Merritt said. “It’s fun to coordinate between the fireworks coordinator and the conductor to hit the beat just right. We’re glad to have the opportunity to keep this tradition going.”The Symphony is also still seeking donations to help defray the cost of the sound system for the evening. For information, visit the Symphony in the Valley’s website at the combination of private donations and city funds will go to save this summer’s July Fourth fireworks, city council put off a broader discussion Thursday on future funding for the fireworks and other special events.The city has had to scramble in recent years to come up with the money to pay for the fireworks, as revenues from the city’s lodging tax have fallen short of the threshold intended for special events. The bulk of those tax dollars pay for Glenwood Springs’ tourism and promotion efforts.The city’s share this year will come from unexpended appropriations in the acquisitions and improvements fund, City Manager Jeff Hecksel said.Council is hoping to come up with a more secure funding source in future years.Virgili said she would also prefer to see a regular line item in the city budget for the July Fourth fireworks, rather than turning to businesses to help make up the difference.”While the chamber agreed to help with the last-minute effort this year, we do feel that should be funded by the city as a line item in the budget,” she said. “Our members are very generous, but they are also paying the tax dollars that the city is already collecting.”This year in particular, though, she said Glenwood Springs is ready for a celebration.”We are seeing that we’re turning a corner with the economy,” Virgili said. “People are ready to celebrate and be grateful for what we have.”

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