John Scarffe, Nederland. Peak to Peak Healthy Communities ignited a drive to bring back Fourth of July fireworks by requesting $5,000 from the Town of Nederland Board of Trustees during the Board’s regular meeting on Tuesday, August 19. With the funds from the Town, one of the organizers, Barbara Hardt, said the group will have raised about $8,500 so far toward a goal of $25,000.
Peak to Peak Health Communities also requested $10,000 from the Nederland Downtown Development Authority during its Board’s regular meeting on Wednesday, August 20. The group of Nederland area residents and businesses proposed having fireworks for the 2015 Independence Day celebration and a town-wide festival the same day. They also requested funding from the Town to get the project off the ground.
Barb Hardt told the Board the group is asking for Fourth of July to come back to Nederland, including a full-day festival with musicians in the afternoons. They are proposing leaving the noon hour open so people can spend money at Town businesses and restaurants.
“We would like the Town to consider helping to fund one overall event,” Hardt said. “We would like the Town and DDA to participate.”
Trustee Topher Donahue asked, “How do we know how much money comes to the town from this?” Town Administrator Alisha Reis said they could use July sales tax totals but would need to do a specific study.
Hardt said they decided to request $5,000 because that’s what the Town put into the event in Chipeta Park in 2014, which had poor attendance. She said the group already has 23 volunteers and would request some staff support to provide what the Town did this year.
Trustee Peter Fiori expressed concern about the “concussion bombs” during fireworks displays, which disrupt wildlife, but said, “There’s no way we’d want to turn down your offer of 23 volunteers. Most of the people come in for the fireworks and then leave. The trick would be to get people to come in earlier with a big draw at 4 p.m. and a late night show in a new venue.”
Hardt said they plan to start at 9 a.m. with the pancake breakfast, and the Fire Department barrel wars would be at the park in the morning. Fiori suggested having Nederland restaurants provide food.
Hardt said they are estimating it will cost between $15,000 and $20,000 to pay for fireworks. “A lot of people are very interested in making this happen again,” she said.
Deb D’Andrea with the group said she has been involved helping to put this together and has talked to many businesses and individuals. They are excited about fireworks here.
Doing the good old-fashioned Fourth of July will get people up here spending money, she thought. “My hopes are this baby step will bring them back,” she said.
Town Intern Alex Armani-Munn said he planned the Fourth of July event this year and can’t recommend continuing that event without fireworks. He is very amenable to offering staff support for the event as proposed.
Nederland resident Joy Bishop of Bonanza Estates said this year, when we didn’t have organized fireworks, a lot of fireworks were going off in her neighborhood. She would rather have it organized.
Susan Temper, who manages First Street Pub and Grill, said she always came here for the Fourth of July. It was a great event and fund raising became a massive community event, which is what this community needs right now.
Trustee Kevin Mueller said he was fine with $5,000 for that but is concerned about drought in the future. Trustee Randy Lee expressed concern about fireworks carrying heavy metals that we’re showering into Boulder’s water supply.
“In our vision statements, we affirm the importance of clean water, and now we’re willing to pollute Boulder’s water supply,” Lee said. “When we have the fireworks, we have an incredible amount of ancillary fireworks going on in the woods. I’ve spent a number of fireworks events inside because I was comforting screaming toddlers and dogs.
“Six white pelicans came to the reservoir, and they left after the Fourth of July and never came back. We should be able to find alternatives. What if we raised $20,000 for the youth?”
Mayor Joe Gierlach said fireworks cost $1,000 per minute. It needs to be about the event and the day as a whole. Many people who live in Nederland go camping on the Fourth of July. There’s not a lot of evidence we get an economic benefit. Events during the day are important.
“Is the business community willing to participate?” Gierlach asked. They need to have strong support from the DDA and the business community. Fireworks are best on New Year’s Eve.
“I would like us to come up with a plan, and maybe we can wean our ways off fireworks,” Gierlach said. “I’m on the fence. I would recommend sending it the DDA before we make a commitment.”
Hardt said they will ask the DDA for $10,000. Fiori reminded the Board of the velocity of money. “If we invest $5,000, that will get back to us. At a certain point, a thing is bigger than just us. I don’t want them going to Black Hawk. I will vote yes.”
Trustee Charles Wood said: “I grew up with fireworks. It’s an economic plus and community-building plus for the community. I would like to do what we can on the negative effects. I think it’s a positive thing.”
Fiori moved to approve the request without “concussion bombs,” and the Trustees approved the motion.
Hardt requested $10,000 from the DDA on Wednesday night for Fourth of July fireworks, and described her concept for an all-day event. She reiterated they were trying to put together $25,000 for the event. They are hoping the event in 2015 will create funding for the next year.
Hardt said they have raided $5,000 from the Board of Trustees the previous night and another $3,000 has been pledged from businesses. The Pioneer Inn will donate another $500.
Board Member Jeffrey Green said the DDA is pretty open to doing something and could consider doing matching funds. Businesses would then feel that whatever they put up front will be matched.
Board Member Amanda Kneer pointed out that the DDA’s budget is only $27,000 next year. “How much of that can we give away?” she asked.
Hardt said Boulder County Parks and Recreation is very interested in this event as a Heritage event, and Black Hawk spent $100,000 on its display.
Kneer said she will abstain from any vote because she is the treasurer for Peak to Peak Healthy Communities. Chair Katrina Harms said the DDA will be having a budget discussion in September. This request would come to 45 percent of the budget.
Harms said they will know next month how much money they have, and Green said they may be able to come up with $1,000 or $2,000.
The next meeting of the Nederland Board of Trustees will be on Tuesday, September 2 at 7 p.m. in the Nederland Community Center, 750 Highway 72, Nederland. For more information about the Nederland Board of Trustees meeting, go online and see other articles in this edition of The Mountain-Ear.
The next meeting of the Nederland Downtown Development Authority will be on Wednesday, September 17, at the Community Center.