In February, many Valley residents were disappointed to discover that San Ramon would not be hosting a fireworks show to celebrate the Fourth of July. After a fireworks-free Fourth, the Parks and Community Services Commission hoped to gain input from residents about plans for next year.
On July 14, the Commission invited residents to a community forum where they could offer suggestions about future Independence Day events. Those in attendance discussed expanding an event similar to this year's celebration rather than bringing fireworks back, but nothing was officially decided.
"I'd just like to encourage everyone to remember this is a process…the beginning of the dialogue," said Commission member Heidi Kenningston-Lee.
This year's fete consisted of a festive 10K, 5K and 3K run, a tribute to veterans and those currently serving and a patriotic concert by the Symphonic Band. The city recently dubbed its new celebration a success in terms of cost, number of attendees and necessity for police. Instead of the 30,000 attendees from surrounding communities in 2011, a tighter knit group of 2,000 from the community were present at the evening event.
Long-time San Ramon resident Gary Alpert said that while he enjoys fireworks, he no longer attended the Central Park event due to the growing crowd. Even though he felt this year's celebratory day ended too early, Alpert said the Commission was stepping in the right direction with cutting the fireworks out of the program.
"We need to stick with what we started this year and look for ideas to make it a more pleasurable experience," said Alpert.
Others believed that the firework show should go on. Jay Lorenz, a San Ramon resident since the mid-90s, suggested sharing the cost for resources with the surrounding cities. Celebrate America was estimated to cost $318,000, while the fireworks show alone cost $175,000 in 2011.
Another resident expressed her concern that San Ramon is becoming too pro-money and is focusing less on community.
"I'm not here for the money," said the resident. "I'm here for the charm of our community."
For those interested in joining the resident committee, contact Esther Lucas at 973-2602. The next community forum will be held on Sept. 13.