Residents asked to weigh in on July 4 fireworks

Cost could reach $318,000

San Ramon's fireworks are up in the air.

The cost for the city's Independence Day celebration -- held since 1985 -- could top $300,000 this year, so San Ramon City Council is seeking input from residents about whether to spend the money or to downsize the event, possibly to a concert in Central Park, much like the one held in Pleasanton.

A news release from the city notes that other localities have ended their fireworks, leaving San Ramon as one of the only places people can see them. A staff report says the 2011 event created gridlock between 8 and 11 p.m. in the area around Central Park and blocked emergency vehicles from getting through.

The event also overloaded restrooms and garbage cans in Central Park and restricted movement. A number of small fires were started by portable grills that are, theoretically at least, prohibited in the park, as is alcohol, although the staff report noted a rise in alcohol use at the event. There was also an increase in property damage throughout Bishop Ranch Business Park and the other surrounding commercial properties.

"This has shifted the event from a local community focused event to a regional event with large crowds coming into the City from the greater Bay Area," the release noted.

In 2011 the event cost about $175,000, but staff recommends increasing the budget to $318,000 to pay for equipment, personnel and contractors.

"Public safety and the protection of San Ramon neighborhoods is the city of San Ramon's number one priority," said San Ramon Police Chief Scott Holder. "The city's current resources are stretched thin and our goal is to provide a safe, secure event."

San Ramon Police, Public Services, Parks and Community Services have nearly all personnel on-duty during the morning run and evening fireworks event. The need to provide safety and security in the park, the launch site for the fireworks, parking lots and surrounding areas while simultaneously providing safe traffic control measures and pedestrian access has stretched current city resources to the limit, according to a staff analysis.

The city's Parks and Community Service Commission recommended that the fireworks be canceled and suggested a smaller, community-focused event this year, with the possibility of bringing pyrotechnics back in the future.

City Council will decide at its Feb. 14 meeting. Before then, officials want residents to weigh in with their opinions by attending the meeting, through email at or online.

"It is very important that we hear directly from residents to determine the future of this event" said Mayor Bill Clarkson. "It will require a significant city investment during lean years to provide a safe, quality event. The council wants to make a decision that is truly reflective of our resident's priorities."


Like this comment
Posted by Alan
a resident of Blackhawk
on Feb 6, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Downsize please ... same spirit can be displayed in other ways.

Like this comment
Posted by cardinal
a resident of Diablo
on Feb 6, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Dear San Ramon: howsabbout you peg your fireworks to 90% of whatever you pay your town manager.

Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Danville
on Feb 7, 2012 at 6:38 am

This used to be such a family oriented great affair, however as it grew it turned into a monster. Too large with all sorts of low life's coming into the area. As the email that the City of San Ramon sent out, the fireworks are one of the few in the area as other communities have stopped their displays due to cost. We have to find a way to make it more fun with a neighborhood emphasis to have fun, but protect the community and the surrounding business from damage and disrespect from those outside the area that respect little in our area.

Like this comment
Posted by Sahar
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 7, 2012 at 10:49 am

Sure, take away the only event his City hosts and watch while your little city becomes a ghost town on July 4th.

NewsFlash, NO ONE is gonna waste one minute at a smaller community focused event, so just bankroll that revenue and don't even bother. This sounds like someone is greasin the skids to let us know this event is already over. Its already decided, you're not doing it, ok we get it.

Everyone will subsequently leave town which is exactly what you want anyway. More revenue spared and city salaries go up and up and up.

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Posted by frankly
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 8, 2012 at 6:28 am

Band concert is just super great!

Why exhibit fireworks as a role model to use something which can burn houses and fields.

Save the money!!

A family picnic and band concert seems more appropriate playing traditional music.

No particular cultural or ethnic music need be sought.

What might also work is to have a local school do some cheering leading along with a sports event, baseball, softball, or lawn tennis. But keep it downsized no matter what.

thanks for the opportunity.

Like this comment
Posted by Love My City
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 8, 2012 at 10:19 am

Please keep the fireworks! Danville is known for their 4th of July Parade, and San Ramon is known for their 4th of July Fireworks! Please keep this tradition alive! Our kids need to grow up being proud of our country! Maybe the surrounding areas: Danville and Dublin can help with the policing costs! This is an event that makes us SAN RAMON PROUD!!!!

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Posted by San Ramon Oberver
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 8, 2012 at 12:12 pm

San Ramon Oberver is a registered user.

If this has become a regional event for people from other cities, why not have those other cities chip in to pay for it. If other Tri-Valley cities each chipped in 20%, and/or contributed volunteers, park and ride, and Police to work the event, we could continue to hold it but not bear the brunt of the traffic and expense.


Like this comment
Posted by Wow...
a resident of Greenbrook Elementary School
on Feb 9, 2012 at 10:54 am

Keep the event and get a sponsor to offset some of the costs. This should be pretty simple simple if the city puts forth the effort. Concerts are nice for say the windfare and labor day if you wish but the fireworks are now a tradition in SR and fairly patriotic last I checked.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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