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July Fourth fireworks show returning to Jones Beach after 5-year absence

The July Fourth fireworks show is held at

The July Fourth fireworks show is held at Jones Beach in Wantagh on July 4, 2009. Credit: Newsday / Ana P. Gutierrez

Independence Day fireworks will return to Jones Beach this year after a five-year absence, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Tuesday.

The 30-minute fireworks show will begin at 9:30 p.m. on July Fourth and will be included in the price of park admission, the governor said. Admission is $8 per car, and $10 when the beach is open.

"For generations, Long Islanders, their fellow New Yorkers, and visitors alike have enjoyed the July Fourth fireworks spectacle at Jones Beach, and our administration is proud to revive this tradition," Cuomo said in a statement.

"As we celebrate Independence Day this year, I encourage New Yorkers and tourists alike to join us and see all that Jones Beach and Long Island has to offer," Cuomo said.

The display will be handled by Garden State Fireworks and is sponsored by Astoria Bank, the Natural Heritage Trust, the Foundation for Long Island State Parks Inc., the Captree Boatman's Association, Newsday, Connoisseur Media Long Island and J & B Restaurant Partners.

The show had run annually for 15 years before it was canceled in 2010 because a state budget crisis had resulted in a lack of state park police officers to patrol the event.

The union representing park police officers said Tuesday that "bare-bones staffing" continues to be a problem in the state park system.

"With major state parks expected to be at capacity . . . the state will not have the ability to reassign officers from these locations to staff Jones Beach before and during the fireworks show," Manny Vilar, president of the New York State Police Benevolent Association, said in a statement.

"The risk for tragedy increases when crowd sizes grow and an inadequate number of officers are available to respond," Vilar said.

Officials for the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation released a statement saying it has increased capacity at its training academies and it anticipates hiring an additional 105 public safety rangers.

"Park Police also routinely partner with state and local law enforcement agencies to police large-scale events and respond to emergency," the parks office said in the statement. "New Yorkers should be confident that their state parks are safe and thoroughly policed."

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