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Sentinel staff report–
Another Fourth of July has come and gone in Citrus Heights, but noticeably absent again was the once-popular fireworks show at Sunrise Mall that annually drew thousands to the city for more than a decade.
So what happened to the shows and will they ever be back?
Christi Woodards, general manager of the Sunrise Mall, told The Sentinel in an email on Wednesday that the mall retired its annual aerial fireworks display in 2012, due to safety and financial reasons. She said the show had been an annual attraction for the prior 14 years.
“It was becoming a safety and fire danger concern for us,” said Woodards. “And it was no longer affordable to host the fireworks display, especially in the struggling economy at that time, which was challenging for all, retailers especially.”
She also said the fireworks show “was a serious drain on city and police resources, which were already stretched thin due to the prison system restructuring and the early release of offenders into our communities at that time.”
Asked whether the show would ever return, Woodards said, “We do not have plans to resurrect the fireworks display now or in the future, for these same reasons.”
In a 2012 press release about the fireworks show being discontinued, Woodards was also quoted stating that future plans for the mall to develop pads along Sunrise Boulevard and Greenback Lane would prohibit the fireworks from being hosted on-site. Although the mall is now under new ownership, plans to develop the pads have been hinted at by the new Spinoso Real Estate Group owners.
Metro Fire was asked for comment on this story, but Fire Captain and Public Information Officer Brian Gonsalves told The Sentinel on Tuesday he did not have information readily available regarding any public safety concerns fire officials had during past shows at Sunrise Mall. Noting the fire district’s current overload around the July 4th holiday, he said additional information would not be able to be confirmed until next week.
Asked for comment on any police concerns about past shows, Citrus Heights Police Lt. David Gutierrez told The Sentinel the mall had contracted with CHPD for supplemental police services during prior fireworks shows and the mall had decided independently to discontinue the shows.
“There was a shooting one year and there were some incidents of crime, but to my knowledge it wasn’t something that we made any recommendation [to discontinue the shows],” the lieutenant said. If the mall were to decide to put on fireworks shows in the future, he said police would not object — as long as certain measures for security and traffic safety were undertaken.
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While there are no plans to bring back the mall’s aerial fireworks show, there are plans to bring back outdoor concerts with a new “pop-up” stadium at Sunrise Mall. Funding for the 2,500-seat stadium was secured last year through a $300,000 grant from the city, with initial plans to have it ready for concerts and events in 2018.
The stadium is part of a multi-year $2.6 million marketing and operations effort launched by the Sunrise MarketPlace, a business improvement district made up of more than 400 businesses along the Greenback Lane and Sunrise Boulevard corridors. The pop-up stadium is now slated to be ready for hosting events and concerts in 2019, according to Kathilynn Carpenter, executive director of the MarketPlace.
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