JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- Fireworks have been a fourth of July tradition for more than 20 years in Jacksonville Beach, but the annual 18-minute event that costs more than a $1,000 per minute and brings up to 100,000 people to the beach is under scrutiny.
"The people that grew up here want fireworks but the people that moved here don't necessarily want the people here," said Bill Stevens, owner of Beachside Swimwear.
City officials tell First Coast News that the goal is to turn the event into a family-focused celebration and will only continue if the crowds are orderly and the community helps cover the cost of the fireworks.
The city's $18 million general fund budget is a little more than $1 million short.
"We've already seen changes in the number of special events the city hosts. We have less movies and a little less of our Jazz series," said George Forbes, Jacksonville Beach City Manager.
So far, the city has collected $13,000 dollars in donations. They've paid for the $25,000 worth of fireworks up front to ensure the event will still happen this year.
It's good new for local businesses like Beachside. About one-third of their finances are dependent on tourists.
"It's not just the single-day. They want to see fireworks then are here for an extended visit 3 days, 7 days," said Stevens.
So for the mom and pop businesses that rely on beach goers, without the rocket's red glare, they won't see the green.
First Coast News