Fireworks, parade's future could be in jeopardy, Bing warns - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Fireworks, parade's future could be in jeopardy, Bing warns

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Mayor Dave Bing at a press conference on June 15. (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com) Mayor Dave Bing at a press conference on June 15. (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com)
DETROIT -

Mayor Dave Bing says the future of Detroit's downtown riverfront fireworks and other big event could be in jeopardy without more help.

This has to do with money.  We're not just talking about the fireworks show, but also the big Thanksgiving Day parade.  The mayor making it clear the city just does not have the money to shoulder the responsibility of funding these types of events, especially because so many people from throughout the region take part in it.

"We think the fireworks and the parade are very, very important to the city and to the region, but I just want people to know that we have a fiduciary responsibility to live up to our budget," Bing said Friday.

He is putting the public on notice.  Unless funding comes from somewhere else, the annual fireworks tradition will come to an end.  This year's show will still go on mainly because of regional support from area law enforcement departments.

"This assistant will give us adequate personnel to position the city and region for a safe and successful night of the fireworks," Bing said.

"With the contingent of officers, agents, troopers, sheriff deputies, we will have more than adequate manpower and resources, more than we had last year," said Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee.

He admitted the city didn't have enough police officers last year to staff the massive crowds that flock to the downtown area.  Detroit just can't afford to pay enough officers to keep people safe, so just about every law enforcement agency in the region is stepping up to help this year.

Chief Godbee also sent out a stern warning to anyone planning to cause trouble.

"It has been rumored that gang members have some intentions.  I need them to understand the full support that we have, the full visibility we have, to make sure that this is going to be a family friendly event.  We will be doing a number of proactive sweeps targeting known gang members, so I want to let them know now, we're coming.  So, if they're thinking about coming to the fireworks, they may want to take a night off that night."

Bing did say they were able to make an adjustment in a grant and get some money at the last minute to pay these officers to help out the City of Detroit during the fireworks show.

One other thing could be a big change for people.  They are going to be going to City Council members trying to get an approval to go ahead and have a curfew in place starting on June 25 at 6:00 p.m. and running through 6:00 a.m. the next morning.  That would require that anyone under the age of 17 be with a parent or legal guardian.

We asked Parade Company president Tony Michaels for his reaction to the mayor's announcement.  He says the Parade Company is ready to work hard to keep these big events going.

"We now have to sit down in July and August with the state, the governor's office, and the county representatives and put together a plan, and this is absolutely doable.  These events mean so much to the people of our community that they cannot and will not go away," he said.

Michaels says the Parade Company itself is doing well thanks to strong corporate partners.

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