With nary a day to spare, the Sugar House fireworks have been saved by a fundraising campaign. To keep the fireworks show alive for one more year, the group needed $55,000 by today to secure the needed permits. The group raised $55,500.
The ultimate goal of the Save the Sugar House Fireworks group, which was started by Salt Lake City resident Scott Workman, was to raise $75,000 so they could also have Fourth of July entertainment (okay, July 3rd entertainment because the 4th competes with God) at the park and launch a nonprofit that could help fund the fireworks in coming years.
Sugar House Park is actually managed by an independent board and not under the purview of Salt Lake City (surprisingly). But they do receive significant funding from the city and Salt Lake County, both of which are constrained by tight budgets this year and could not give much support to the fireworks. The board, meanwhile, decided to use their limited budget for infrastructure improvements.
There are legitimate criticisms of fireworks, including the pet-scaring noise, the hyperpatriotism they unleash in some people (you know, the same ones who volunteer for live nativity scenes at Christmas) and the post-explosion stench.
Fireworks, however, are a community event, when people get together in generally peaceful settings for a common purpose. The few thousand dollars spent by cities on these events go a hell of a lot further than the dollars spent on various levels of administration.
That's not just a personal observation, either. It's one of the first strategies employed by anybody remotely experienced in one of the many empire-building computer games (SimCity or Civilization series for me). When the people start to revolt, you give them fireworks, or a parade, or build a stadium.
But apparently, if you run a city in real-life, the proper approach is to eliminate all sorts of happy distractions for the populous, including well-lit streets, flowers in the parks, arts for the children or fireworks. Then, you assuage them with the knowledge that their taxes will not increase by even a penny, even if they have told you they don't actually oppose a tax increase. Also, cops will be everywhere, either in person or virtually monitoring everybody from their giant campus (which, by the way, will be paid for by a tax increase) and hoping to catch any miscreant who owes them a few bucks so they can whack their kneecaps with mind-boggling late fees. Oh, and to find Mayor Ralph's stolen bike.
Disclaimer: My wife started the above linked Facebook group, Save YouthCity Artways, and has unwittingly become one of the point people for this effort. It is entirely a volunteer effort on her part. On the other hand, she previously was a paid consultant with the Exoro Group, which was hired by the city to help pass the bond for the public safety building.