Upper St. Clair, South Fayette team up for July 4 fireworks
The tradition of watching Independence Day fireworks is going to look different this year for many South Hills residents.
Upper St. Clair and South Fayette townships have finalized discussions that began last year regarding a partnership to bring the launching point of festivities to Fairview Park on July 4.
For the first time in nearly two decades, fireworks will not be launched from the South Hills Village parking garage, because of construction of a Port Authority light-rail station and an apartment complex adjacent to the garage.
“It made sense for a number of years to combine with Bethel Park because of the great site with all of the parking,” said Upper St. Clair Township assistant manager Mark Mansfield, who explained that talks began last year with South Fayette when it looked as if the Port Authority wouldn’t allow the use of the South Hills Village garage launch site.
South Fayette Township, which regularly held its celebrations on July 3, could no longer use its El Rancho Park launch site on Hickory Grade Road because of construction of the newly developed Watson Institute, the fourth installment of the school in Allegheny County to help students with special needs. Ground was broken in September.
The most difficult question that both municipalities had to answer was finding an ideal location, something that is very difficult with firework displays that require a large safety area.
“We got into some of the logistics last year, but just not enough to make to allow it to happen,” South Fayette Township manager Ryan Eggleston said. “We got together much earlier this year and are really excited to have an opportunity to work with Upper St. Clair.”
This year’s show will be twice as big as what residents in South Fayette are accustomed to, with the much larger shells being launched.
The $20,000 cost is being split between the municipalities.
Probably the best spot to watch the fireworks will be at Boyce Mayview Park, which has ample amounts of parking and open fields for seating. Seeing the fireworks from multiple locations in both townships is possible with the high elevation of Fairview Park.
“Like anything with the first year of change, it may not be as recognizable in terms of the site,” Mansfield said. “Both South Fayette’s program and our program have a following, and we are big believers in governmental cooperation. It’s a year-by-year partnership, but if all goes as planned, we will be looking for more of a long-term agreement.”
Bethel Park will not be holding a fireworks display this year.