***FOR THE RECORD: The March 26 article “Picnic for fireworks approved" should have stated that $1,776 was donated by Jim Howard for Fourth of July fireworks.***
Raising the money to pay for the traditional Fourth of July fireworks show may be no picnic in these economic times, but a picnic will help.
The City Council unanimously approved Tuesday a request from the Laguna Board of Realtors for permission to hold a communitywide fundraising picnic from noon to 4 p.m. May 2 at Alta Laguna Park. Ticket sales will go toward the $25,000 pledged by Realtors for the annual pyrotechnics, which the council had canceled due to budgetary concerns.
“Everyone should chip in to help celebrate our country’s birthday," said Martha Lydick, president of the Laguna Beach Taxpayers Assn. and the Friends of the Laguna Beach Library.
Lydick liked the symbolism of the donation presented Tuesday to the city by Recreation Committee member and Realtor Jim Howard for $17.76 and said anyone who can’t go to the picnic should follow his lead.
Howard had previously presented checks to the council in the amount of $757 at the March 2 meeting after Realtor Michael Gosselin announced that the board had voted to donate $5,000 and pledged to raise the whole $25,000 needed.
“If more than $25,000 is raised, the city manager said we could tell the city what to do with the money, which would include saving it for next year’s show or the board could keep it for a donation next year," said Gosselin, chairman of the fundraising.
More immediately, Gosselin is looking for volunteers to help with the picnic. An organizational meeting will be at 4 p.m. Monday at the board office, 939 Glenneyre St.
The event will include music by the popular Blues Offenders, children’s activities, a silent auction and a catered luncheon "” with help from local restaurants, Gosselin said.
Tickets will be $25 for adults, $15 for children.
Council approval of the exclusive use of all or part of a city park is rare. The council doesn’t even see many requests, which are screened out by staff. However, the Realtors event was recommended to the council because the fireworks used to be hosted by the city.
The approval includes the use of a parking lot, grass areas adjacent to the restrooms, tennis courts and the basketball court. Amplified sound and permission to set up tables and chairs were also approved.
City staff will supply additional trash receptacles.
Impacts on the park are expected to be minimal, according to Susan Cannan, director of community services. No Little League or AYSO activities are scheduled and the public will still be able to use the park.
Checks may be made out to the Board of Realtors, a 501c(3), and mailed to the Glenneyre Street address or to the city of Laguna Beach Finance Department, 505 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach, CA 92651. All checks should identify Fourth of July fireworks on the memo. For more information about volunteering for the picnic, call (949) 874-9293.