Funding bleak for July 4 fireworks at Sugar House Park
By Christopher Smart
The Salt Lake TribuneFirst published Feb 28 2014 01:01AM
It might take a white knight to save the Sugar House Park 4th of July fireworks show for 2014.
Organizer Scott Workman said a major sponsor has pulled out and another one has had to cut back its donation, leaving the show "woefully short" of its target.
This is not the first time the celebration looked to be on the brink of cancellation.
The park is operated by the Sugar House Park Authority and is independent of Salt Lake City. The city does provide $15,000 annually for the fireworks display but it costs about $65,000 to put it on, Workman said. Sponsorships and donations are presently equivalent to half that amount, he said.
When the Sugar House Authority decided not to fund the fireworks in 2009, Workman stepped in to raise money to and keep it going. It’s been a challenge, he said, because, among other things, he cannot charge admission for the show because the park is open to everyone.
But he hopes residents will go to the website at www.sugarhhousefireworks.com and make a donation or buy a T-shirt.
If a fraction of the estimated 35,000 who attend the show annually buy a T-shirt, the show would go on, he said. "If we could get a little bit of money from the people, we could do it. "
Former City Council member Soren Simonsen lauded Workman for his efforts.
"It’s a big deal to pull this off every year," he said. "But it takes a mini-crisis to get people to rally."
Lisa Adams, who now holds the City Council seat for the Sugar House area, said finding corporate sponsorships can require fundraising a year in advance of such a promotion.
"At this point, I don’t know if he’ll find a white knight to ride to the rescue," she said. "But if enough people make a small donation, maybe he can make it."