BOISE -- With the Fourth of July just about two and half weeks away, many people in the Treasure Valley are gearing up to head down to Ann Morrison Park to watch the spectacular annual fireworks display. But this year, Boise city officials say they're considering moving the classic show because the park is so soggy and wet from the flooded Boise River.
City officials say the area in the park near the clock tower where the fireworks normally launch from is still fairly dry. The problem would be that the ground in most areas across the park is so saturated and the city is concerned that could affect spectators' experiences celebrating and watching the show. Some of the grass does not look wet from afar, but it is deceiving.
Flood water, mud and soggy grass doesn't sound like the kind of environment where many people would want to spend their Independence Day. But right now, that describes Ann Morrison Park, where the City of Boise hosts their annual Fourth of July fireworks show.
"We have families everywhere from one end of the park to the other, we get to lay our blankets out," one spectator who enjoys watching the fireworks show with his family, Eric Garza, said.
"Thousands and thousands of people pack the park during Fourth of July," City of Boise spokesman Mike Journee said, "and if it's wet and soggy then you can imagine the mess and challenge that would create."
Journee says the grass will stay saturated even as the river continues to fall.
"The water table has risen in that area and most of Ann Morrison is a fairly low-lying area," Journee added.
The city is concerned, Journee says, so they're in talks about whether or not they're going to host the show at Ann Morrison in just two and a half short weeks.
"We're taking a close look and seeing if it's going to be possible and if not, then what the alternative would be," Journee told KTVB.
"If the water is like this from now then I don't think you're going to see families [wanting to] lay on the grass and watch," Garza said. "I don't think I'll have all my kids hanging out on soggy grass."
Journee wouldn't name the specific alternatives they're weighing at this time.
"We're working through those details and we'll make a determination as soon as we can, as soon as we find a place that meets all the criteria we need to have for it," he added.
The event would need to happen in a large, open area so the fireworks can blast safely without creating a fire or safety hazard and so the city can fit the thousands of people who will come out to enjoy the event.
"Ann Morrison is such a beautiful park, it's such a great centrally located place. People love going there and the viewing opportunities right there with the Bench and Crescent Rim and the Depot Park and all the tall buildings downtown," Journee said. "That's a great place to do it. It would be unfortunate if we had to move it."
KTVB will update this story as soon as the city announces their determination about the Fourth of July celebration venue.
In the meantime, even though the Boise River is receding, officials want to ensure you stay away from the Greenbelt because it is still dangerous; eroding banks, deteriorating asphalt and over-saturated or downed trees will continue to pose hazards.
Now that the water is going down, city departments will be looking at city parks and the Greenbelt to determine what needs to be repaired or replaced. Journee says the city set aside $1.6 million from their capital fund budget in order to deal with repairs and other needs.
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