H-PASO ROBLES

Apr 14, 2011 8:36 PM by Danielle Lerner

Time running out to bring back July 4 fireworks show in Paso Robles

People in Paso Robles are hoping some last-minute fundraising can reignite the city's July 4 celebration.

A lack of funding canceled the Barney Schwartz fireworks show last year and as of now, the city needs between $50,000 and $60,000 to make this year's display happen.

The city council has until Friday to decide if the show will go on, but local businesses plan to ask the council for an extension so they can try and raise the money.

Fireworks are a must-see for many people on the Central Coast and up until last year, Barney Schwartz Park in Paso Robles was an area hot spot.

"My husband and I have enjoyed it several years, we've brought friends and family from out of town to this," said Christine Coons, who lives in Paso Robles.

Art Pelino is leading the charge to bring back the city's fireworks show. The Two Brothers Catering owner would be one of many vendors on hand for the event, and he says the big crowds mean big revenues for area businesses.

"That's additional revenues at the shops, additional revenues at the restaurants, additional revenues at the grocery stores, everybody benefits," said Pelino.

The Paso Robles Inn is another one of the businesses rallying support, and while the mayor supports their efforts, he warns it will be an uphill battle.

"I just don't know if there's that kind of money out there right now," said Paso Robles Mayor Duane Picanco.

Picanco says he is willing to lend a hand, but it all comes down to time and donations. It costs $75,000 to put on the show and right now there is only about $17,000 pledged. It also does not help that the city is actively raising money to prepare for this year's Amgen Tour, set to roll through town May 19.

"If the community really gets behind this thing it'll be great, but I don't know," said Picanco.

The council's next meeting is Tuesday. The businesses will have to speak during public comment and the council cannot technically vote on a public comment item. It has to be on the agenda so the mayor says they are still trying to figure out how exactly to address the issue.

If the extension is approved the mayor says May 30 would be the absolute deadline. He says it would be logistically impossible to coordinate that big of an event in such a short amount of time.

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