Breckenridge rethinks its fireworks |

Breckenridge rethinks its fireworks

Caddie Nath
Summit Daily News

BRECKENRIDGE – Amid a storm of criticism for the July Fourth show, the Breckenridge Town Council voted 4-3 to return the fireworks display to the north gondola lot in 2012, where it was launched up until this year.

The town moved the fireworks display launch site to the roof of the welcome center this year to free up the gondola lot for additional parking and to prepare for future development of the lot, which will force the show to be moved elsewhere in coming years.

But transferring the location to an in-town rooftop also required Breck to switch from traditional fireworks to so-called proximate fireworks, which do not present a fire danger but are also less spectacular when viewed from a distance. Space constraints on the one rooftop the town was able to secure for the show also meant the display was shorter than in previous years.

Breckenridge’s $13,000 budget for the display did not change from last year, according to town officials.

“I want to go back to the big fireworks, because they were so memorable,” Councilwoman Jennifer McAtamney said at Tuesday’s work session. “So many people that visit us over the Fourth of July have said that its amazing that a town this size can have fireworks that are that good.”

Council members said they got as many as 65 letters complaining about this year’s proximate fireworks and that the display was particularly disappointing to locals who were used to being able to watch the show from their homes in the Breckenridge area. The Summit Daily received a number of negative letters, as well some saying the show was just fine.

A switch to proximate fireworks and permanently moving the show into downtown, several council members noted, would require more frequent shuttle service and would likely be an inconvenience for many due to the crowds. Still, three of the council members said they did want to see the Fourth of July become an all-day in-town party with several rooftops utilized to launch a larger, more impressive proximate fireworks display than what was seen this year.

“I can see if we incorporate a couple more buildings, we keep Main Street closed the whole day, we have a couple more roofs, run some shuttles to get people to come into town, we have the fire dancers and just kind of have some more animation, I think it could be happening,” Councilman Jeffrey Bergeron said. “But people (won’t be able to) bring a lawn chair to the City Market (parking lot) and see the fireworks. That’s a bummer.”

The town will eventually have to find a new location for the fireworks, however, as there are development plans for the gondola lot expected to be implemented in the next seven to 10 years.

Breckenridge began putting on its own fireworks display in the late 1990s. Before that the town chipped in with others in the county for a bigger fireworks display in Frisco, but traffic on Highway 9 made commuting to and from the show difficult for people staying or living in Breck.

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