Fireworks moving to help taxpayers

Published 01/17 2013 09:27PM

Updated 01/17 2013 11:03PM

CHAMPAIGN-It's been nearly three weeks since the community learned the Champaign County Freedom Celebration would be moved to Urbana, but they still aren't sure where. However city leaders say the move will make it easier for taxpayers.

Leaders say city police officers have been dealing with Parkland's traffic after the fireworks plus other calls and all of that is just too much.

Nicole Wiente and her family live across the street from Parkland College, and on the Fourth of July they have a perfect view of the fireworks from their porch.

Wiente and her family might have scored a perfect view, but for people who drove and had to sit in traffic it wasn't so nice. This is one issue Freedom Celebration organizers and county leaders want to avoid.

By moving to Urbana, they'll be getting help from Urbana Police, University of Illinois Police and the Champaign County Sheriff's Office.

Unfortunately, that help was needed last year more than ever. Officers responded to a murder in Garden Hills where 20-year-old Desiree Austin was shot to death. The shooting took place just hours after the fireworks show ended.

Mayor Don Gerard says that Champaign police officers had to deal with the fallout by themselves. That's why he says moving the firework celebration back to the University of Illinois campus is a must.

The celebration has been at Parkland College for 6 years, but before that arrangement thousands of people had been traveling to campus for the Fourth of July since 1950. The firework tradition will continue to live on this July.

The Freedom Celebration committee says they're first choice is to have the fireworks in the E14 parking lot at the University of Illinois, which is right across from Assembly Hall. However there are some wrinkles that need to be ironed out before anything is official.


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