SAN RAMON -- Efforts to revive the city's Fourth of July fireworks fizzled a bit Wednesday night.
The city's Parks and Community Services Commission voted 6-0 to recommend keeping the city's Independence Day celebration fireworks-free, as it was last year, with just a morning run and a music concert in the afternoon.
Commissioner Will Doerlich abstained from the vote.
The City Council will vote on the issue at its Feb. 26 meeting, said Karen McNamara, the city's public services director and interim parks and community services director.
McNamara said commissioners voted against the proposal to use Old Ranch Park as a launch site for fireworks after listening to nearly six hours of testimony from residents -- particularly from the nearby Summit View, Bent Creek and Old Ranch Estate subdivisions -- during two public hearings over the past month. They also reviewed comments submitted to the city's Open San Ramon website.
"They listened to that feedback and expressed empathy toward those concerns and the fiscal impact of the event," McNamara said. They decided the cost, estimated at $166,800, was too high.
Area residents voiced concerns about having a fireworks display nearby, fearing problems would arise with loud noise, traffic, safety and crowds. In previous years with fireworks, the city held the celebration at Central Park.
A committee tasked with developing a long-range plan to bring back July 4 fireworks included the city's top police and fire officials, who studied traffic routes, McNamara said. After considering 11 sites, the panel recommended Old Ranch Park ¿because of excellent sightlines throughout the city, as well as security and crowd concerns.
The city decided in 2011 not to put on the display after huge crowds, mostly of out-of-towners, gathered for the event in Central Park, jammed streets with traffic and made it difficult for emergency personnel to get around effectively, city officials said.
McNamara said the fate of fireworks shows was uncertain now -- and not just for next year.
"If that option is off the table, then for a variety of reasons, the availability within the city for aerial display becomes very, very limited," she said.
Contact Joyce Tsai at 925-847-2123. Follow her at Twitter.com/JoyceTsaiNews.