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Riverside City Council Cancels Annual July 4 Fireworks Celebrations

RIVERSIDE (CBSLA) -- Riverside's annual fireworks shows will be missing from July 4 celebrations this year.

In an effort to discourage large gatherings and conserve funds needed to bolster the municipal budget, city leaders decided to scratch the popular annual event.

"This celebration is held dear by many Riverside families, so this is a very difficult decision for everyone," Riverside City Councilwoman Erin Edwards said. "I am hopeful that we can move forward with an event that allows Riversiders to gather safely to celebrate our nation's birth."

On Tuesday, the city council voted 6 to 1 to cancel the shows and set aside the $123,800 that would be needed to pay for them. Councilman Chuck Conder, a retired U.S. Air Force major, casted the lone vote against the decision.

Since coronavirus-related health orders have forced businesses to close, reduced tax revenue has forced the city to shoulder mounting expenses that can be covered using the money typically used for the event.

The July 4 pyrotechnics have been hosted at Mt. Rubidoux and La Sierra Park since 1996, and the shows draw tens of thousands of people on every occasion, according to the Riverside Parks, Recreation & Community Services Department.

The Mt. Rubidoux celebration is the biggest attraction and can be seen from miles away throughout Riverside.

City leaders said they are considering a virtual fireworks celebration, which would possibly entail a lower-scale show on Victoria Avenue.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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