Tradition and practicalities are still at odds in the Powderhorn neighborhood, where community members last week couldn't map out a plan for this year's "July 4" fireworks display.
"July 4" is in quotes because the Minneapolis Park Board has made it known it doesn't have enough police to handle fireworks shows both in Powderhorn and along the downtown riverfront, but would if Powderhorn's occurred on a different day, such as July 3 or July 5. They'll continue to patrol the downtown event, which attracts 100,000 people on July 4.
Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association (PPNA) executive director Becky Timm said many of those who attended a brainstorming meeting Thursday were still holding out for July 4, a date with more than 100 years' worth of fireworks history at the park. She expressed frustration.
"We really should have started planning already," she said. "I just realized it's January 27. We would have to start fundraising right away."
Recommendations from the meeting included hiring private security, volunteers or city police to patrol the Powderhorn event. The option of using city police is being explored, but Timm and parks commissioner Scott Vreeland said those alternatives were unlikely. Private security and volunteers would have to call police to deal with crimes or disturbances anyway, they said. City police get paid extra on holidays, and July 4 is their busiest day of the year, Vreeland added.
Community members also voiced concerns that favoring the downtown event represents a turn away from equity for Powderhorn. But Vreeland noted that Powderhorn, the site of several major events through the year including the May Day parade finale and the Powderhorn Art Fair, is "probably one of our best-served neighborhood parks."
"I don’t ever want to negate anyone’s concerens about equity, but Powderhorn's the neighborhood with the most resources in many ways," he said. "It really is a happening place."
Timm said the PPNA board will try to come up with a solution at its monthly meeting Feb. 13.