Independence Day fireworks will go on in Hamilton despite the coronavirus pandemic.
But to lessen the gathering of large crowds, they will be “much larger” and shot much higher into the sky so they can be seen from nearly all areas of the city, City Manager Joshua Smith said.
Smith announced those plans and Hamilton City Council unanimously agreed Wednesday during its meeting.
Smith said not everything has been decided. Among those things is from where they will be fired. The city will choose between two locations — one on the West Side, and the other on the East Side.
The East Side site is most likely “just due to visibility,” and also “has some county ownership,” Smith said, adding he had a conversation this week with Butler County Administrator Judi Boyko.
Smith noted Fairfield will have its show on July 3, so fireworks enthusiasts can see displays two nights in a row.
The larger cost, being raised through donations, will be about $30,000, compared with what Mayor Pat Moeller has said was $18,000 to $20,000 in prior years. With “minimal fundraising,” more than $20,000 has been raised, and if needed, the city can spend money won’t be spending on Memorial Day and Independence Day parades, Smith said.
“July 4 has always been a celebration of our independence,” Smith said. “It’s been a celebration of our residents and businesses. But most importantly, in Hamilton, it’s been a celebration of our community that always emerges stronger from setbacks.”
He noted the 1913 Great Miami River Flood and devastating fires during the past two centuries, as well as COVID-19.
“Not having the fireworks I think sends the wrong message to our residents,” Smith said. “We can do it in a very safe (way) .”
The safety comes from distancing because of the larger display, he said.
“That way,” he added, “people will not have to congregate at the Great Miami River like they’ve done in prior years.”
Smith said Public Safety Director Scott Scrimizzi has been working with the fireworks vendor, and they reduced the preferred launch sites to two, Smith said. The vendor will “do a couple of test shots, so we can determine which ones will have the best visibility,” he said.
The Hamilton Economic Development Corp., operated by the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, is collecting tax-deductible fireworks donations and can be reached by calling 513-844-1500.
The city at first considered shooting off from both the East Side and West Side, Smith said, “but the show would have been like 8-10 minutes long at the longest,” Smith said. He noted most fireworks come from China and Mexico, and because of the coronavirus, there are sourcing issues, which may drive up prices.
Both possible launch locations have good parking areas, so people can watch from their vehicles and there are areas where viewers can be physically distanced from each other, Smith said. And most people can see them from across the city, so fewer will need to gather.
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