Glenwood’s lack of July 4th fireworks discussed
Glenwood Springs city officials have been fielding the usual questions about Fourth of July fireworks of late, prompting City Council to issue a reminder that the city has moved away from the summer holiday tradition for a variety of reasons.
This will mark the fourth straight year that the city has not sponsored a July 4 fireworks display. In 2012 and 2013, the planned event was canceled at the last minute due to the high fire danger.
That ultimately led to the longer-term decision to instead have fireworks during the wintertime Ski Spree celebration, which has become part of the late-February event for the past two years.
Especially during the summer, staging a fireworks display requires a significant time commitment on the part of the Glenwood Springs Fire Department, City Manager Jeff Hecksel said Thursday during a City Council pre-session.
Support is also necessary from neighboring fire districts to help keep an eye out for and help put out any spot fires that result from the falling embers, which are common, he said.
Also, since the development of the Glenwood Meadows area and properties along Devereux Road from which the fireworks had been launched in the past, fire officials have had difficulty finding a safe location from which to launch them, Glenwood Fire Chief Gary Tillotson said.
“The pyrotechnics companies have a lot of new requirements that we have to follow, and we’re really just running out of places where we can have them,” Tillotson said.
The Ski Spree display works because fire officials can close Two Rivers Park and launch them from the boat ramp area. But that’s not an option in the summer, with all the boat traffic and people using the park, he said.
“It really just seems this whole thing with fireworks is becoming a game of calculated risks,” Tillotson said.
The lack of fireworks, however, does raise questions about whether the city might consider an alternative event in future years to give locals and tourists something to do to celebrate the nation’s birthday.
A short-lived downtown celebration with music and other transactions has since gone away, and for a second straight year the FireKracker 4K run takes place on Saturday morning.
Beyond that, there’s not much in the way of special events planned.
“We should take a look at some point into doing some kind of celebration,” Councilor Kathryn Trauger said.
Council member Steve Davis agreed.
“Something in the park, maybe a pig roast … something that addresses our small-town character,” he said.
Tillotson issued a reminder that anyone who plans to shoot off personal fireworks that can be purchased locally to take precautions.
“Light them out in the street or in a paved driveway or parking lot, and don’t do it in your back yard,” he said.
Although Glenwood Springs will not have a fireworks display this Independence Day, Rifle is planning a concert and fireworks display in Centennial Park tonight, while Apple Tree Park across the river from New Castle will have its annual Independence Day celebration, including fireworks the evening of July 4.
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UPDATE: Both westbound lanes and one eastbound lane of Interstate 70, according to a 12:20 a.m. update from Garfield County.