Friday, April 19, 2019

Oshkosh's Fourth of July fireworks show looks like it's moving to Pioneer Island from Menominee Park

The old Pioneer Resort and Marina is being demolished, and the site may be used for Fourth of July fireworks.

By Miles Maguire
The skies over Pioneer Island may be full of bombs bursting in air and rockets red glare come July 4th if a plan to move the annual Oshkosh fireworks display gets the OK.

“The July 4th fireworks show has historically been held at the Miller's Bay/Monkey Island area in Menominee Park in conjunction with Sawdust Days,” said Parks Director Ray Maurer. But this year extensive road work on Hazel Street along the western edge of Menominee Park could pose a problem.

“City staff has discussed concerns regarding getting thousands of spectators to the fireworks show at Menominee Park in and out safely,” said City Manager Mark Rohloff.

Separately the Oshkosh Rotary Club has come forward with a proposal for a Fourth of July celebration at Leach Amphitheater and Riverside Park. This event would help fill the void created by the demise of Sawdust Days, which has been held at Menominee Park but is ending its run after 47 years.

With the focus of holiday activities moving to the riverfront, “city staff began discussing the possibility of relocating the fireworks show to Pioneer Island,” Maurer said.


The property owner, a Brookfield investment firm, and Art Dumke, the local developer who has an option on building at the site, have given their approval, officials said. Festival Foods, which covers half the cost of the fireworks, is also on board, according to the city, which pays for the other half of the show.

Wolverine Fireworks, the company the city contracts with, has agreed “to do the fireworks show off the island,” Rohloff said. The Coast Guard and the Winnebago County Sheriff's Department have also been apprised of the new location.

For the show the city plans to close Pioneer Drive “so we can have lots of people out there,” Rohloff said. “It wouldn’t hold too many cars anyway so we may as well make it accessible for people to watch the show.”

He said the city will be talking with downtown businesses to ensure there will be adequate parking. Rohloff hopes the event will have a positive spillover effect downtown and especially in the Sawdust District.

City records show Pioneer Island as a16-acre site, but about half of that space is devoted to a marina at the southern end of the property.

“People will have to pick their right vantage point for the Fourth of July and plan those things out,” Rohloff said. “I’ll certainly be eyeballing good locations to watch fireworks from.”

Both the Rotary proposal to use the Leach Amphitheater for Independence Day and the plan to move the fireworks to Pioneer Island are on the agenda for Tuesday's Common Council meeting.

15 comments:

  1. looks like I'm staying at Omro fireworks this year. I am boycotting Oshkosh.

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    1. By moving it to this location, your still going to have the same problem but just a different neighborhood. I live in the sawdust district and theres lots of cars parking in our neighborhood every time there’s an event going on at the arena which isn’t too far from this new location.

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    2. Will be boycotting Oshkosh also. This is awful! I live very near downtown and am not at all happy with festivities being at the Leach! There is not near enough parking in this area!

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  2. Exactly! We definitely need a new city manager!

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    1. I agree..time for NEW BLOOD in the City Manager's office.

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  3. Awesome. The fireworks and sawdust day took over my neighborhood. Cars parked everywhere, gridlock afterwords and trash everywhere. Those events had really deteriorated of the past few years. It was time to move it to a non-residential area. I think the old pioneer is a good solution.

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  4. I live on Hazel St. There is plenty of parking on the northern end of Hazel. Having the fireworks at the Pioneer is going to limit the number of people who are able to see the fireworks. Keep our fireworks in Miller’s Bay!

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  5. It's just for this year people. Read the entire article please.

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  6. Looks like I'm heading out of state, to spend my $ elsewhere, since there will be no sawdust days.

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  7. I love how Oshkosh is challenging so many dimensions of our great city and discussing changes and improvements. It ALL starts with "talking about it" and listening to the feedback. I think that this is a great idea, but I could be wrong. But we're talking about it, and that's how the best things get done.

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  9. Oshkosh is supposed to be the event city but our city management couldn’t figure out a way to keep Sawdust Days here and now it’s gone. Now the fireworks if moving out of Menominee Park to a place where limited people will be able to see them. The beginning of this article states they are moving the ANNUAL fireworks to the Pioneer island so it doesn’t sound like it will be coming back to Menominee Park next year. How long will it be before our city management runs EAA out of town too. Hopefully our newly elected Mayor can get this city turned around starting with getting a new City Manager. Otherwise say goodbye to Event City.

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  10. Last i was in that area there was still half tore down buildings heavy equipment and just looked ugly and deserted. Sounds like a awesome place to celebrate a holiday to me... Not! Besides theres not much space for people with the river the train tracks. The marina wich i could be wrong is more boat spots then people space. Then having a celebration at the leach your just asking for trouble and tradjey. How are you goung to put say 2000 people in a spot for mabye 1000. BAD BAD IDEA!!

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  11. Keep it in the park!! the move will stop a lot of people from seeing the firerworks!! The people of oshkosh also have picnics that day family gatherings , reunions , baseball games, swimming boating going too the zoo that day!!! Leave it there!! As it is no sawdust days!! Tax payers pay out alot of money every year to live here as it is you keep changeing rules and laws that we do not get to vote on!!! We buy our property and the city wants too charge us for everthing ! I paid for my property not the city!!!

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