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Could July 3 Fireworks Ever Make A Comeback?

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Fireworks erupt over Navy Pier on Monday night, July 4. (CBS)

Fireworks erupt over Navy Pier on Monday night, July 4. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel says, essentially, “Who knows,” when asked about bringing back Chicago’s July 3rd fireworks show.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s John Cody reports, for many years, the city boasted that more than a million people jammed the downtown lakefront to watch the fabulous July 3 fireworks extravaganza.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s John Cody reports

But in recent past years, the crowds got out of hand.

In 2008, four people were shot – one fatally – as a crowd streamed out of Grant Park following the fireworks. The shots rang out near Congress Parkway and Dearborn Street as people ducked for cover, and Courtney Thomas, 20, was soon pronounced dead.

The July 3 fireworks went on again in 2009. But the following year, they were canceled in an effort to save money.

In 2010, the July 3 fireworks show was replaced with three smaller shows on July 4 – one at Navy Pier, one on the North Side at Montrose Harbor, and one on the South Side at the 63rd Street Beach.

But this year, the fireworks shows were pared down even further, and only the Navy Pier show remained.

So could the July 3 fireworks ever return? Mayor Emanuel says he’s not a soothsayer, and he just doesn’t know whether the rockets will glare again on shores of Lake Michigan.

“Unlike in past years, both the Taste and the fireworks came off with a level of safety and security so it could be a family-friendly event. That’s what I’m proud of,” he said Tuesday. “We’ll always evaluate – as I think I’ve showed even on other issues – is this the best way to do it? Can we do it better? What can we do to improve it?”

It sounds like fireworks – maybe or maybe not – depending on future Chicago cash flows.

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