FORT WAYNE – The sky-shaking booms, flashes and bright colors to celebrate Independence Day will have a more central location this year.
Much more central.
The annual Independence Day fireworks will be shot from the top of the tallest building in town, One Summit Square, instead of a parking ramp at IPFW.
“IPFW came to us several months ago and indicated they were not going to be in position to host the event,” mayoral spokesman John Perlich said. “They came to us to see if the city could find a way to keep the event going.”
John Kaufeld, IPFW's chief communications officer, said that for years, the fireworks show had been sponsored by Centennial Wireless, but when AT&T purchased Centennial it asked that the fireworks show be “scaled back.” That contract with AT&T ended last year.
“In between the time between that point and now, (IPFW) has gone to the city time and again and said we are still willing to host just as we have done,” Kaufeld said. “We were willing to do all of the legwork and pay for the security and grounds keeping, but we can't pay for the fireworks too.”
It cost about $15,000 to provide security, event setup, tear-down and cleanup, he said.
Moving the event downtown wasn't simple, however.
The TinCaps had already planned fireworks for the end of their baseball game.
And the Three Rivers Festival fireworks are scheduled to be launched from the same spot just two weeks later.
The TinCaps' fireworks will be included in the city display, and the spectators at the ballgame will be able to watch from their seats. The fireworks are planned for 10 p.m.
If the game runs longer, the fireworks will start as soon as the game ends.
Officials also talked to Three Rivers Festival organizers who OK'd the move.
“We wanted to make sure we weren't taking away from what the festival does every year,” Perlich said.
There was also the matter of paying for it City officials had to round up sponsors to pay for the display, including the TinCaps, Sweetwater Sound, Parkview Health, Lincoln Financial Group, Fort Wayne Metals, Wells Fargo and Midwest Pipe & Steel.
As for parking, a 2006 downtown parking study found 7,600 off-street spaces and 636 on-street spaces.
Since then, the Harrison Square parking garage added 800 more off-street spaces.
Julie Crothers of The Journal Gazette contributed to this story.