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City considers continuing Elver Park fireworks along with Rhythm and Booms

Officials originally planned to funnel funds into downtown show

City considers continuing Elver Park fireworks along with Rhythm and Booms

MADISON, Wis. - The Elver Park fireworks are back on the city's agenda after Mayor Paul Soglin said last summer that the funds would be funneled into a new Rhythm and Booms celebration on Lake Monona.

A resolution for the city to continue to pay for the Elver Park fireworks was presented at the city council meeting Tuesday night.

The Elver Park fireworks have been a Madison tradition for decades, and it appeared that with the city moving Rhythm and Booms downtown, the Elver Park show wouldn't happen. But city officials said they may be able to come up with the money, and leaders hope to find a permanent solution for the future the west side fireworks show.

Last July seemed to be the last time the skies would light up on the west side of Madison.

"There was a period of time where there was an assumption that Rhythm and Booms in the center of the city would be the only event," Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said.

For the first time, this summer Rhythm and Booms will be downtown over Lake Monona instead of on the north side. City officials originally planned to pool the resources from the west and north side celebrations into one big downtown celebration.

"I was incredibly disappointed as the alder person for this district," said Lisa Subeck, the District 1 alder for the Elver Park neighborhood. She said she heard loud and clear from her fellow west siders that they wanted to keep the fireworks show on the west side.

"They started to come out and say, ‘Wait a minute, this is our neighborhood festival. We have had families who have been doing this for 20 or 30 years.' People did not want to see that go away, and the mayor was very responsive to that," Subeck said.

"Both neighborhoods made it real clear they wanted to continue with a neighborhood-focused event," Soglin said.

The west side show would cost the city $25,000, and Subeck said the city has funding in the park's budget available, but the council knows the city cannot make this commitment every year. Meaning, permanent sponsors are needed in future years for the Elver Park show to go on.

"This fireworks show -- this activity at Elver Park -- is critical to the neighborhoods around it, and it's about so much more than a night of fireworks. It's about bringing our neighbors together and strengthening our communities," Subeck said.

The resolution was presented and will be voted on Tuesday night. Subeck said she is confident it will become a reality.

The Elver Park fireworks show would be Thursday, July 3.

Madison Festival Inc. will put on Rhythm and Booms downtown this year.

Officials with the company did have a comment about Elver Park being back in the mix because they said it doesn't really affect their work. They said they are very excited putting together the community event on Lake Monona, and they know traditions are important and they hope the Elver Park show is also a success.

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