Though San Ramon's July 4th committee members continued to voice their creative ideas about how Independence Day should be celebrated, Parks and Community Service Commission member Esther Lucas had to remind the group the reason for meeting.
The first step of the citizens committee meeting, held on Aug. 8, was to brainstorm and determine a list of goals appropriate to focus the Independence Day event around. After suggestions that built the list to 14 goals, committee members voted on the most important and relevant.
The list of goals after committee members voted (not prioritized)is as follows:
- Encourage citizen participation and allow neighbors to meet neighbors
- Expand special events, creative experiences and funding through community partnerships with businesses and organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce.
- Provide an event that will honor the American spirit as well as recognize veterans and armed forces
- Create an event that recognizes fiscal constraints of the city.
- Create an event that prioritizes public safety.
- Increase volunteer support to offset staffing costs.
Once goals were determined, the group separated into two committees: research and event focused. The research committee was assigned the task of exploring how other cities, such as Livermore, celebrated the day. The event committee was assigned the task of coming up with ideas that focus on the six decided goals.
San Ramon's annual fireworks display was canceled this year due to financial and safety concerns. This year's Independence Day celebration consisted of a 10K, 5K and 3K run, a tribute to veterans and those currently serving, a patriotic concert by the San Ramon Symphonic Band and a show by Pride and Joy, a popular band based in of San Francisco.
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.
The dialogue will continue and the next committee meeting will be held on Aug. 22. For those interested in joining the resident committee, contact Esther Lucas at 973-2602. The next community forum will be held on Sept. 13 and residents with ideas and concerns are encouraged to attend.