Not all the city skies will be lit up for the Fourth of July this year, but many college students think they should be.
More and more cities are eliminating Fourth of July fireworks displays because of tight budgets. But this year, the wildfires in Colorado and record-setting heat throughout the Midwest and Atlantic Coast added to the cancellations, USA TODAY reported.
Fireworks caused an estimated 15,500 reported fires in 2010, according to the National Fire Protection Association. These fires resulted in eight reported deaths, 60 civilian injuries and an estimated $36 million in direct property damage.
More than 30 cities and counties across Colorado, where wildfires are still raging across the state, canceled fireworks displays because the dry conditions and hot weather have exacerbated conditions, according to CBS News.
Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner told USA TODAY that his officers will give no warnings to people who violate the city’s fireworks restrictions, which may lead to citations and arrests.
“With the fire danger being so high and with a wildfire already on our doorstep, we just can’t take any chances,” Beckner said.
Cities on the East Coast may not be worrying about the weather, but officials still have to consider the economic consequences.
For instance, New Rochelle, N.Y., and New Britain, Conn., relied heavily on private donations to fund fireworks displays this year because the cities could not afford it, USA TODAY reported.
Other towns decided to get creative with their budgets.
In Hanover, Mass., the town’s cultural council requested $10,000 for a fireworks display with money from a snow and ice removal fund that had not been used due to lack of snow this winter, according to WickedLocal.com, representing the Hanover Mariner.
The request was approved with an added amendment stating an additional $5,000 must be raised independently. Not everyone agreed with the town’s decision.
“In these tight financial times, spending money on fireworks is not in the town’s best interest,” advisory committee member Brian Barthelmes told the Hanover Mariner.
Julie MacDonald, a 19-year-old resident of Hanover, Mass., attended the fireworks display June 16 with a couple of her friends and said she was very impressed.
“It’s worth the money you spend if people are going to enjoy it,” MacDonald said, adding that towns should spend money on community activities because you get to spend time with people you have not seen in a while, and it’s just fun.
Twenty-year-old Kelli Williams, a recent transfer to Wheelock College, said watching fireworks on the Fourth of July is a tradition “too important to give up, for sure.”
“It gives the town more sense of community,” she said.
Cyril Brunner, a rising senior at the University of Vermont, will be going to the Burlington, Vt., fireworks July 3 for the second year in a row.
For Brunner, it’s not always about the city’s budget. He said that fireworks can be good for business, citing the example that his friend has to work all night at a bar downtown during the display when there typically would not be a need for extra employees mid-week.
“It’s probably good for the community because it brings a lot of revenue down to Burlington,” Brunner said. “I think it’s awesome — a nice scene down by the lake.”
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