Big changes for July 4th festivities

- Good news for residents in Philadelphia’s Fairmount section who feel under siege from the city’s annual July 4th concert and fireworks spectacular along the Ben Franklin Parkway.

The neighborhood civic association tells FOX 29 they’ve been notified by the city that two big changes will be made to this year’s festivities, each designed to make their life a little easier.

The annual event draws huge crowds from all over the city, region—even the world. But the folks who live right near the parkway?

"I usually go away," says Marion Rizzo.  “Escape, yeah!"

The crowds and late night festivities force locals to grab a parking spot and hang onto it, and then hunker down until the event finally ends.

“It’s tough,” says Fairmount resident Kyriakos Evrenoglou.  “Because it's usually mobbed.  There's people all over the place, coming from all over."

It's part of a bigger problem for Fairmount:  over time, the Parkway has become the go-to location for every big event in the city.

The pope comes to visit?  Entertain him on the parkway. Made in America concert?  Why not use the parkway?And this year's National Football League draft?   Let's put it on the parkway!

Mike Smith of Fairmount says the NFL event was not kind to the neighborhood. 

“They blocked all the streets and closed the tunnels and you couldn't get out of here.  You couldn't get a cab over here.  It was insane."

The tweaks announced by the city?

Police will enforce residents-only parking access to the immediate neighborhood-- exact boundaries still to be announced.

And the evening's concert will now end around 9:30-- with fireworks quickly following. No more pyrotechnics at 11:30 or midnight.

Frank Bonom has managed the massive Philadelphian condominium tower overlooking the Parkway for six years.  He likes the neighborhood-friendly changes and believes city officials are finally listening.

"For the first time since I've been here,” says Bonom.  “Absolutely.  You know, it seems to be a different attitude."

That "attitude" could make things even better for folks who get a front row seat to the biggest events in Philly, with fewer headaches along the way.

“The city is the city,” says Pamela Grace.  “It's all about the hustle and bustle.  And something that brings this area together for a good cause, I'm all about that."

 

 

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