It takes a lot of behind-the-scenes work to help make Warren's Fourth of July festivities a success.
Kicking off Tuesday night with the Liberty Rocks event and continuing through Wednesday night's fireworks, downtown Warren and Betts Park will be prepared to accommodate the holiday festivities.
According to Mike Holtz, director of the City of Warren's Department of Public Work, ensuring event planners have somewhere to hold festivities, and protecting the city's streetscape, is no easy task.
Photo by Jacob Perryman
Jodie Franklin and Tammy Wester put up caution tape at the CVS Pharmacy parking lot on Pennsylvania Avenue for the 65th Annual Warren County Fourth of July Parade Committee.
Holtz said Monday that DPW personnel have already begun preparing for the festivities.
Fencing is going up around planters and flowers in the downtown area in an effort to minimize potential damage.
On Liberty Street between Second and Third avenues, extra trash receptacles will be put in place in anticipation of Liberty Rocks on Tuesday night. Barriers will also set up to route traffic around the site.
Meanwhile, Betts Park is getting what Holtz described as "last-minute spruce up" before festivities including vendors, bands and a fireworks display begin there following Wednesday's parade. He noted safety cones and bleachers are being put into place and preparations to accommodate vendors and bands are underway.
Holtz estimates between 40 and 50 barricades will be put in place to direct traffic away from the parade route and across Fourth Avenue. The parade route runs from S. Carver Street, westbound along Pennsylvania Avenue, past a judging area at General Joseph Warren Park, and ends at Laurel Street.
According to Holtz, the DPW will also put bleachers in place at General Joseph Warren Park for parade judges.
"The parade, getting the park ready and Liberty are our focal points," Holtz said.
Once the fun is over at the festivities, then clean-up work begins for the DPW workers.
"We try to get it down the day after," Holtz said of barricades and other items put in place to accommodate events. "In this case, Thursday."
And he means very early Thursday.
Holtz said a team of six or seven DPW workers will begin cleaning the parade route at approximately 4 a.m. Thursday and running a street sweeper. Then the crew will move on to removing the protective fencing and barricades that had been set up.
"The guys deserve a lot of credit," Holtz said of the DPW personnel. "They do a lot of work, and it's hot this year."
Members of various city volunteer organizations also spend numerous hours preparing downtown Warren for the events. For example, Monday evening, members of the 65th Annual Warren County Fourth of July Parade Committee took time to place caution tape around the parking lots at CVS Pharmacy, Pizza Hut, Country Fair and Family Video. The designated areas will serve as monitored alcohol free zones. The CVS lot will be designated as handicap only parking, while the other lots will serve as family only areas. The Pizza Hut lot will also be available to employees at the restaurant.