Fireworks move to golf course
ASPEN What would the Fourth of July in Aspen be without fireworks? Not much. That’s why city officials are planning to set them off over the municipal golf course.The conditions are just too dry for the traditional venue of Aspen Mountain, but with the course’s onsite irrigation system, there’s less fire danger. However, some of the larger shells might not be blasted. Debbie Braun and Jennifer Albright-Carney, representing the Aspen Chamber Resort Association, told the City Council on Monday night that they are working on an eleventh-hour plan for the annual fireworks display. But they are going to need more money – they just don’t know how much. The extra expense will likely come from increased bus service to and from the venue.ACRA representatives will meet with city and transportation officials Tuesday to discuss details. Braun and Albright-Carney will then come back to the council Tuesday afternoon to request a specific dollar amount. The current budget for fireworks is $25,000.While the council was supportive of the alternate plan, there were concerns about making sure there will be restricted parking along Highway 82, enough security at the venue and sufficient parking spots. The intercept lot at Brush Creek Road and Highway 82 will surely be one designated parking area, with a capacity of up to 1,200 cars. Buttermilk is another option.Aspen Police Chief Loren Ryerson said he’s confident enough security personnel can be enlisted to keep the peace.”I feel pretty certain that we can probably do this,” he said, adding that how people travel there is important. “I think advertising is key to get people to go to the right place from the beginning.”Steve Aitken, director of the Aspen Golf Club, said fireworks will not disrupt play. Councilman Dwayne Romero said the golf course is a great guinea pig for an alternate fireworks spot.”It would be fun just to try it,” he said. “You don’t have to be on top of it to enjoy it.”Mayor Mick Ireland joked that if things remain the same, the golf course could become a new tradition. (Last year’s Fourth of July show was canceled because of fire danger.)”With global warming, this maybe a permanent venue,” he said.
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Don’t freak out if you see helicopters hovering over the Roaring Fork Valley backcountry or fixed-wing aircraft making repeated trips. It is part an annual wildlife study by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.