Alcoa’s FreedomFest likely to be cancelled

The City of Alcoa will likely cancel the annual FreedomFest event this year because of projected budget shortfalls and concerns about construction around the festival site.

According to a press release dated Monday, March 2, City Manager Mark Johnson will recommend to the Board of Commissioners at the upcoming meeting on March 10 that the event be cancelled.

Construction is scheduled to take place this summer at Alcoa Elementary School, the site of the fireworks display. In addition, projected revenue shortfalls in the current and upcoming budget are cited as the contributing factors for the cancellation of the event. It is expected that the Board will follow Johnson’s recommendation to cancel the event. FreedomFest 2009 was scheduled for Saturday, June 27.

“The elementary school will begin a major renovation project soon, and the area used to set up the fireworks display will become a construction zone. However, the overriding issue relates to the slump in the economy,” Johnson said. “We have asked our employees to help in reducing our operating costs and spending $46,000 for the fireworks display this year does not reinforce that effort. As far as the public is concerned, I know the fireworks have been enjoyed by thousands every year, and I hate to give that up. On the other hand, I think the vast majority understand the times that we are in and would expect that the fiscally responsible thing to do is exactly this.”

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