July 4 Fireworks ready for blastoff at Crowley Lake

After more than a year of leaving the Fourth of July Fireworks show in limbo, Town Council member Matthew Lehman said he and a consortium of public funders have secured enough funding to keep them going.

"We're still slightly short," he told the Town Council at its meeting on Jan. 15, "but we think we have enough funds and resources to where we can now commit to the Fourth of July for 2014, and the events will move forward as normally scheduled. We're looking forward to that.

"We want to get the word out so that people know that they can plan their vacations, and start letting our guests, and our friends and family, know that it's going to take place."

Lehman, who led a group that includes the Chamber of Commerce and both Mammoth newspapers, said the Fourth of July fireworks festivities, which the council unanimously axed from its 2013-14 fiscal year budget, needs a total of $28,000 to pull it off.

However, he said one anonymous donor has tossed in $5,000 for the effort, and other people have pitched in with some big money as well.

"There's been a lot of good effort on the part of the folks who've been working on this,” he said, “and we had one individual who donated $5,000 to the cause.

"There has been another group of individuals here in town who have given some significant contributions as well," Lehman said.

"Our ultimate goal is to get $28,000, so we can have the fireworks, and Pops in the Park and everything."

Lehman added that it is time for the town to begin taking a hard run at summer activities.

"I think with our [winter] season starting off like it is, we're really going to have to start placing a great focus on summer, and making sure that we have an outstanding summer so we can try to make up some ground.

"We found out the past three years that summers are actually a good place to recapture some of our losses."

The push for public donations began as a response to the Town Council unanimously de-funding the Fireworks Show for 2014. It made the cut as a result of a budget shortfall.

The Council also cut many other things from that budget, including, for example, a cut in road maintenance funding and in the Mammoth Lakes Police Department.

But it was the potential loss of the Fireworks Show at Crowley Lake that generated the most controversy on the street, given the show's iconic standing among summer guests and longtime local residents.

Thus, while the council continues to try to patch its own vexing budget problems, at least the council members can do it without the threat of the fireworks issue exploding in front of them, at least for one year.