We’d kind of gotten used to our government-financed fireworks display, hadn’t we? The symphony, then the philharmonic. The 1812 Overture. Tens of thousands of folks coming together in the only celebratory, city-wide event of the year. The event that, for the last thirty years, has defined and celebrated our community and our nation.
Absent a “deus ex machina”, a great-hearted philanthropist willing to pony up a hundred grand or so to fund the event, the fabulous fourth at Memorial Park may be gone forever. It’ll be recreated at Fort Carson, according to news reports, and will no longer be a true community event.
It’ll be a perfectly nice fireworks display – and that’s about it. No more picnicking in the park, no more walking/riding a bike to Memorial Park, no more fire in the sky, arching high over the heart of the city.
Tens of thousands gathered in the park – and tens of thousands more watched from backyards, decks, and roofs throughout the city’s core.
City Council’s decision is understandable. Like medics on the battlefield, they’re engaged in a kind of urban triage. This year, the cops will still be lurking to catch speeders, the ghetto bird (aka the police helicopter) will be keeping west side residents awake, and some potholes will be filled. Those programs survive-but no more fabulous fourth, no more water to keep the parks green, and the city auditorium will decay for yet another year.
Why are we in such a fix? Is it TABOR, the recession, or just government inefficiency? Or some combination of all three?
At this point, it doesn’t much matter. There isn’t enough money, cuts have to be made, and council has the unenviable job of making those cuts.
But I guess I look at things differently. It seems to me that the cumulative impact of these cuts will lessen our sense of community, our belief in ourselves and our pride of place.
A city that can’t water its parks and continue an event that has delighted its residents for 30 years is, sad to say, not much of a city.
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