Last night, along with about 50 people including parents with little kids, my husband and I got kicked out of Luther Burbank Park to prevent us all from watching the fireworks.
Let me back up. Last night was the 4th of July. My husband and I, two friends, and the visiting parents of one of our friends went down to Luther Burbank Park because I had surmised you can see the Bellevue fireworks from there. You can, but you’re not allowed.
We had walked to the tip of the park when the two cops arrived. They told us the park closes at 10 (that’s when the fireworks start) and we have to be back at the parking lot by then. We weren’t allowed to stay on this nice grassy area right on the water. As you can imagine, several people told the cops that was ridiculous. One of the cops said, “It’s not us, it’s what the City Council wants.” Someone responded they had called the police that day to find out if the park would be open, and the police dept. said it would.
We walked back to the car along with a nice couple and their baby in a stroller. We watched from the parking lot until someone found a hill that had a better view.
So I have a question for the City Council: Why would taxpayers and their families be prevented from watching fireworks in a public park?
“Every other town around here supports the Fourth of July, and puts on a big display. Mercer Island can’t even let us watch fireworks in our own parks,” my husband said. “Why do they spend all this time and money kicking people out instead of supporting it?” Fourth of July is a event that brings families in a community together, and Mercer Island squashed it.
But lighting off fireworks is legal. Somebody was setting off fireworks in the parking lot of the Mercer Island Community Center, with cars and people all around, and the cops didn’t care. But we can’t sit in a public park and watch fireworks over the lake.
Back when I lived in Capitol Hill, thousands of people would come down to Melrose Street to watch the fireworks over Lake Union. There were never any problems. The Mercer Island violent crime rate is one of the lowest of any place around, so why would the City Council think we can’t peacefully watch fireworks in our own town?
Next year, City Council members, we want to be able to watch fireworks in our own community.