Detroit Mayor Says Fireworks Will Go On

DETROIT (AP) -- Retracting an earlier threat, Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick said a fireworks show that has been one of Detroit's premier summer events for nearly a half-century will be held after all.

''I have concluded that the fireworks... will go on here in the city of Detroit,'' Kilpatrick said Monday. ''They will be staffed at an optimum public safety level.''

Kilpatrick had threatened to cancel the show, saying he could not guarantee spectators' safety with a police force reduced by about one-third under the 2005-06 fiscal year budget approved by the City Council on May 24.

The new budget is aimed at eliminating a $300 million deficit and takes effect July 1. Kilpatrick, in threatening to cancel the fireworks, said he feared large numbers of police would protest the cuts by refusing to work at the June 29 festival.

Kilpatrick said no police officers or firefighters will be laid off until 45 days after the fireworks display and Major League Baseball's July 12 All-Star game. He said police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings will have 45 days to submit a restructuring plan to implement the council's budget.

The firework festival draws hundreds of thousands of spectators to the downtown riverfront. It's the focal point of the annual International Freedom Festival, a celebration of friendship between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

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