June 30, 2009

Tough times scuttle some fireworks plans

An $8 million city deficit has killed the July Fourth fireworks display in Coral Gables, Fla., but officials say other Miami-area festivities will proceed.

The Coral Gables fireworks show drew thousands to the Biltmore Hotel golf course until 2006 when repairs canceled the event, and now the city's budget woes are forcing its cancellation. In West Miami, the Independence Day celebration has been canceled for the second straight year, The Miami Herald reported.

Given the present set of circumstances, there is no money in our budget that will allow us to have a Fourth of July celebration in our city, City Manager Yolanda Aguilar said, adding that past events cost at least $15,000.

But elsewhere, fireworks shows will be going on despite economic tough times. In South Miami, Mayor Horace Feliu told the Herald that planning ahead helped save the event.

We had budgeted for it last year, so everything will go on as planned, he said. We're not at a financial loss like some other cities. However, that could change next year.

In Miami itself, all three of its regular July Fourth fireworks shows are going on as usual, city spokeswoman Kelly Penton told the newspaper.