After eight years of hosting Rockville’s Independence Day Celebration at Montgomery College, city officials think they might get more bang for their buck at another venue this year.
City staff is recommending moving the 2014 July Fourth fireworks show from Montgomery College’s Rockville campus to RedGate Golf Course.
City staff said construction constraints have created challenges for Rockville’s show.
Last year’s fireworks didn’t fly as high as they did in prior shows because their shell sizes had to be reduced, according to a staff report.
Since new tennis courts were being built on campus, the fireworks launch site had to be moved from a practice field to an upper stadium—which was also close to fuel tanks, according to city records.
City staff said in its report:
“Due to construction on the College campus and other factors, staff has concerns about the location's viability as a fireworks site in the future. The College has significantconstruction projects planned for the next several years, including resurfacing the track and/or rebuilding the stadium. These projects are in the planning stage but, upon their commencement, will severely limit or eliminate the stadium as a launch site. The stadium is the only fireworks launch site left on the College property.”
Civic Center Park, Mattie Stepanek Park and at Richard Montgomery High School were also considered as possible sites for the city’s fireworks show.
But according to a city analysis, RedGate could accommodate the biggest shells, at 8 inches.
Comparatively, Montgomery College can only accommodate 2.5-inch shells.
Shell size is the difference between firing firewrorks can soar 250 feet or 800 feet, according to the city’s analysis.
The city did a test launch at RedGate on Dec. 3, and the fireworks could be seen a half-mile away.
As for logistics, the city proposes closing RedGate for the show. The community would gather at several sites around RedGate to watch the fireworks.
A potential problem with this plan is that it would eliminate the concerts, remarks form city officials and the music that gets played during the fireworks show, according to the staff report.
The event costs the city $65,500 to produce. Moving the show to RedGate could cost an estimated $88,000, city records show.
--->>> Speak out: Do you think the Rockville Independence Day Celebration should be moved? If it moves, will you miss the concerts that come with the show?