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Plans To Move Fourth of July Fireworks Set Off Environmentalists

By Anna Deem in News on Jun 6, 2010 7:00PM

Photo by: siefken
For this year's Fourth of July fireworks display, city officials have announced plans to stage three synchronized events along the lakefront to save money and improve public safety issues. The three events--at Navy Pier, at Foster and Lawrence in the north, and at 59th Street in the south--are set to replace the annual celebration in Grant Park on July 3. Jill Niland, along with other conservationists and nature lovers, is worried that the north and south celebrations will draw huge crowds to the Montrose and 63rd Street beaches, both of which contain "ecologically sensitive nature areas," according to the Chicago Tribune.

"We're very concerned that having an influx of people will damage an environmentally sensitive site," said Niland to the Tribune. "The Chicago Park District has spent a lot of resources, money and time on these natural areas, and they need to make sure that they're protected."

"That is part of the discussion every time we talk about the crowd management," said Megan McDonald, director of the Mayor's Office of Special Events, to the Tribune. "My job for four years was to manage the lakefront," she said. "Environmental issues on the lakefront have been on the topics of conversation of every internal meeting that we've had because it's very important." To protect environmentally sensitive areas, McDonald noted that officials are considering putting in temporary fencing or light towers, along with Chicago Park District or Chicago police security.