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Defects prompt closure of county fair grandstands

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A central Indiana county faces a big bill to replace its fairground's grandstand after numerous safety problems were found during an inspection prompted by this summer's deadly state fair stage collapse.

Inspectors found that parts of the steel superstructure of the Delaware County Fairgrounds' grandstand had rusted through, some support plates hovered above their bases, and wood and asphalt bases had collapsed.

County Commissioner Larry Bledsoe said that the 3,000-seat grandstand is "absolutely off limits to everybody," until it is fixed.

"Knowing what dangers are there, we cannot allow anybody to be in the grandstands at this point," Bledsoe told The Star Press for a story Thursday.

County fair board President Jim Mansfield said the grandstand was built around 1952 and that the cost of demolition and replacement is estimated at $900,000.

Bledsoe said he was uncertain how the county government — which this year cut millions from its budget and laid off workers — would pay for the grandstand's replacement and that it is possible sponsors might be sought for sections of new bleachers.

The roof over the grandstand is in good shape and does not need replacing, officials said. The grandstand seating area is a free-standing scaffolding system separate from the roof.

The collapse of a fabric roof and metal rigging above the stage at the Indiana State Fair on Aug. 13 killed seven and injured more than 40 people.

Mansfield said that fair board members decided to have the fairgrounds property inspected for structural integrity and safety after the August collapse at the state fairgrounds in Indianapolis, where strong winds blew stage rigging onto concert fans, killing seven people and injuring dozens more.

Bledsoe said he hoped that the construction of a new grandstand would attract a high school marching band contest back to the county fair. The contest traditionally draws large crowds.

"We have other uses for the grandstand, so we want to get it done as the warm season rolls around," Bledsoe said. "The fairgrounds brings economic development to Muncie and it's important we recognize that."

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  1. Now if he'd just stay there...

  2. Daniel - what about the many US citizens who do NOT follow what the Bible teaches? The Hindus, Jews, Muslims and others who are all American citizens entitled to all rights as Americans?? This issue has NOTHING to do with "What the Bible says..." Keep all Churches separate from State! Pence's ongoing idiocy continues to make Indiana look like a backwards, homophobic state in the eyes of our nation. Can't we move on to bigger issues - like educating our kids?

  3. 1. IBJ should link to the referenced report. We are in the age of electronic media...not sharing information is lazy. Here is a link http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Blue_Ribbon_Panel_Report_July_9_2014.pdf 2. The article should provide more clarity about the make-up of this panel. The commenters are making this item out to be partisan, it does not appear the panel is partisan. Here is a list of the panel which appears to be balanced with different SME to add different perspectives http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=138116?formation_id=189603 3. It suggests a by-pass, I do not see where this report suggests another "loop". 4. Henry, based on your kneejerk reaction, we would be better off if you moved to another state unless your post was meant as sarcasm in which case I say Well Done. 5. The article and report actually indicates need to improve rail and port infrastructure in direct contradiction to Shayla commentary. Specifically, recommendation is to consider passenger rail projects... 6. People have a voice with their elected officials. These are suggestions and do not represent "crony capitalism", etc. The report needs to be analyzed and the legislature can decide on priorities and spending. Don't like it, then vote in a new legislature but quit artificially creating issues where there are none! People need to sift through the politics and provide constructive criticism to the process rather than making uninformed comments in a public forum based on misinformation. IBJ should work harder to correct the record in these forums when blatant errors or misrepresentations are made.

  4. Joe ... Marriage is defined in the Bible ... it is mentioned in the Bible often. Marriage is not mentioned once in the US or Indiana Constitution ...

  5. Daniel - Educate me please: what does the Bible have to do with laws? If the government wasn't in the business of marriage to begin with, then it wouldn't have to "define" marriage at all. Marriage could be left as a personal, religious, or otherwise unregulated action, with no ties to taxes, legal status, etc. Then people could marry whomever they want, and all this silliness would go away. Remember to vote Libertarian in November.

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