Portland seeks bidders for Fourth of July fireworks

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PORTLAND — The city is moving toward staging its own Fourth of July celebration, officially ending a public-private partnership that existed through 2017.

“We are no longer working with the Stars and Stripes Foundation,” Parks, Recreation & Facilities Director Sally DeLuca said in a Feb. 20 email. The foundation still owes the city $80,000.

In a request for proposals issued Feb. 14, the city is seeking bids for the annual Eastern Promenade fireworks show this year, with an option for 2020.

Bids are scheduled to be opened March 7, according to the RFP, which anticipates a cost of $40,000 for the 25-minute show, and requires the winning bidder tow work with the Portland Symphony Orchestra on timing of the fireworks.

The fireworks will be funded from the city’s operating budget, DeLuca said.

“We are hopeful that we can partner with another nonprofit and bring the PSO back, but nothing is confirmed at this time,” she added.

Last year, the city stepped in to fund the fireworks with $35,000 after the nonprofit Stars and Stripes Foundation announced it would not host the annual event due to a loss of sponsorships.

The nonprofit was established in 2010 to fund the annual Eastern Promenade celebration that became the Stars and Stripes Spectacular. City Manager Jon Jennings, who was not then in city government, helped establish the partnership after the Independence Day fireworks were eliminated from the municipal budget.

Last year, Jennings said the Stars and Stripes Foundation owed the city $80,000. The money has not been repaid, DeLuca said Feb. 20.

The RFP requires at least 42 percent of all fireworks shells to be fired during the grand finale, and shells that do not reach at least 300 feet in altitude cannot be used.

Applications will be scored on a 100-point basis, with 30 points awarded both for a company’s experience and the program it proposes. The remaining 40 points would be evenly split between the balance of shell sizes in the display and the completeness of the application.

David Harry can be reached at 780-9092 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Portland’s Eastern Promenade turns red July 4, 2015, as fireworks explode above the thousands of people gathered to celebrate Independence Day at the city’s annual Stars & Stripes Spectacular. The city is seeking bids for the annual fireworks display, and will not be working with the nonprofit Stars and Stripes Foundation.

Fourth of July fireworks in Portland in 2015.

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Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.