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Fourth of July Parade Almost Deflated by Lack of Convertible Automobiles

The annual Alameda 4th of July Parade bills itself as the second longest Independence Day parade in the country, with over 170 floats traversing a three mile route. Historically, local automobile dealerships on Park Street provided loaner convertibles for use in the parade by V.I.P.s, but as those dealerships have dried up, so have the loaners.

In June, the parade committee issued a call for private individuals to loan cars to the parade to make up for the loss of loaners from Alameda’s dwindling dealerships who are moving to more favorable locations with freeway access. (Alameda’s Good Chevrolet closed in October, 2008, well before the meltdown of General Motors.)

The loss of dealers from Park Street’s “auto row” not only threatened to cause problems for the parade – it’s hurting city coffers too. The City’s quarterly sales tax report for the period ended December 31, 2008, shows that receipts in the Transportation category plummeted 26.5% compared to the same quarter in the previous year, and receipts in the Park – North of Lincoln area, home to auto-row, fell 30.4% in the same time frame. (This data is the most recent available from the City – numbers for the first quarter of 2009 should be available in August.)

Guy Smith, speaking on behalf of the parade committee, told us that, in the end, private citizens came through with around 30 vehicles: “None are coming from dealerships – they all came from local citizens.”

The parade line-up begins at 8am on July 4th, along Lincoln Avenue from Park Street to Grand Street.

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