Delaware County grandstand off-limits following inspection

The grandstand at the Delaware County Fairgrounds will be off-limits, at least temporarily.

One of several problems inspectors found in Delaware County

One of several problems inspectors found in Delaware County

Muncie, Ind.

The grandstand at the Delaware County Fairgrounds will be off-limits, at least temporarily.  

The Delaware County Fairgrounds received the results of an inspection, which concerned its members Thursday.  The inspection was done by American Structurepoint.  It found problems with the grandstand, including rust, missing bolts and deterioration.

"We want to try to do what we can to prevent any tragedies or anything that might befall on us," said Jim Mansfield, Delaware County Fair Board President.

The board requested an inspection because of the tragedy at the Indiana State Fair where the stage collapsed, killing seven people.  The decision was also made to have the inspection because they have not had a grounds manager since Spring.

"When we did the study six years ago, we didn't see a lot of this sort of thing and so consequently, it was a surprise to us that it was in the condition it was in," Mansfield said.

The grandstand was built more than 60 years go.  

"There's underlying issues that we can't see. It's covered with paint.  Without doing some type of testing for those joints and through the pipes, those underlying areas could possibly be weak," said Bart Keesling, Fair Board Member.

Now, the task will be to figure out how the board and the county commissioners will pay for it.  

"All this property (is) owned by the county and county commissioners.  They've had a lot of cut banks and that sort of thing," Mansfield said.

If the decision is made to fix the various problems, it could cost around $75,000, Keesling said.  If the decision is made to replace the grandstand, it is estimated it could cost $900,000.  According to the report, the roof was okay and does not need to be repaired.  Mansfield said it may only need to be painted, at this time.

"We're just trying to weigh out all our best (options).  We need all the support we can get to make the best decision we can for the community," Keesling said.  "We just don't want to have any problems down the road."

The goal is to either raise or secure funds by Jan. 15, 2012.  The next step would be to design/manufacture the grandstand by May 15, 2012.  If everything goes as planned, construction would begin in May and would be completed by July 1, 2012.

Delaware County Commissioner Larry Bledsoe said the commissioners will meet to look at a bond issue.  He said they have been struggling with a "revenue shortfall".  

"To have this $900,000 fall on your lap, it's just something we have to address," Commissioner Bledsoe said on the phone.  

He said he is hoping to start coming up with ideas this weekend on what they can or cannot do.  He called it a "financial burden", but said they are trying to learn from what happened in Indianapolis.


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