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New Year, New Venue For Rockville’s July Fourth Fireworks Show?

City staff is recommending moving the 2014 Rockville Independence Day Celebration show from Montgomery College.

Do you think Rockville should change locations for its Fourth of July fireworks show? FILE | Patch
Do you think Rockville should change locations for its Fourth of July fireworks show? FILE | Patch

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.

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>>> 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? 
Tom Moore January 07, 2014 at 07:43 AM
If you're interested in the issue, the Mayor and Council had a terrific discussion of it last night at our meeting. All meeting videos are here: http://md-rockville.civicplus.com/AgendaCenter/Mayor-and-Council-5 Last night (Jan. 6's) meeting video will be posted shortly. A lot of the questions raised here -- and many more! -- were answered last night.
Brigitta Mullican January 07, 2014 at 11:19 AM
I watched the test fireworks at Redgate from Avery Road and was not impressed, but then again it was a small test. I also listened to the Council discussion last night and wasn't convinced that the Council had enough information to go forward with any decision. Cost, location and safety are big issues. The City of Rockville does not own a large parcel of land to hold big events.; wish it did. Watching to see what is decided.
CrunchyMama January 07, 2014 at 12:30 PM
I've been here long enough to remember fireworks being shot in downtown before the construction. Talk about a centralized location! Obviously not an option now, but at the same time, plenty of people could see them. Just how high do we really NEED to shoot fireworks? Last year there was a lovely crowd gathered on the east side of the train tracks to watch the fireworks: tailgating, great view; so we move the fireworks someplace further out to shoot them higher but it's further from where anyone lives, so more people will have to shlepp there to see them in the first place, whereas both MC and RM have neighborhoods close enough that more people could walk, so no need to shoot them so high. Any chance of entering into a deal with the country club? That's a lot more centralized than Redgate. I'll try to catch the video later if I get a chance.
Tom Moore January 07, 2014 at 01:32 PM
@CrunchyMama: Hey, thank you for that. I meant to ask about that last night, and will do so now.
CrunchyMama January 07, 2014 at 02:25 PM
*salutes smartly* Any time!

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