Parades, fireworks may be cut in Long Beach

LONG BEACH, Calif. City officials are trying to cut costs to cover an $18.5 million deficit in next year's budget. That means several popular free events including the /*Martin Luther King Jr.*/ parade, the /*Fourth of July*/ fireworks show and the /*Christmas Tree Lane*/ parade could lose funding.

A lot of community members are hoping the city will find other ways to save money.

"It would be really devastating to all the people in the city of Long Beach," said Marla Norvell of the /*Wrigley Area Neighborhood Alliance*/. "This is a historical and traditional parade in the city of Long Beach. There is not one like it."

Every December, volunteers transform a four-block stretch of Daisy Avenue into Christmas Tree Lane.

"It's 40 kids, particularly at Christmas time," said WANA's Jim Trout. "All the people come out to see it, the parade and all the displays."

The WANA pays for entertainment and to set up and take down the decorations through donations. Even if the parade ends, alliance members said they will keep the tradition alive.

"It needs to stay, period," Norvell said. "They will get it set up and we will have Christmas Tree Lane."

The proposed cuts could save the city more than $200,000, but right now they are just proposals. No final decisions have been made.

"Whenever we have the possibility of looking at a cut, you have to ask yourself, is there another way of doing this more effectively and more efficiently?" said David Ashman of Long Beach's special events. "We have to look at that as well. And yes, we will have those discussions."

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