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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. why oh why does this state continue to elect these people....do you wonder how much was graft out of the 3.8 billion?

  2. i too think this is a great idea. I think the vision and need is there as well. But also agree with Wendy that there may be better location in our city to fulfill this vision and help grow the sports of hockey and figure skating in Indy. Also to help further develop other parts of the city that seem often forgotten. Any of the other 6 townships out side of the three northernmost could benefit greatly from a facility and a vision like this. For a vision that sounds philanthropic, the location is appears more about the money. Would really like to see it elsewhere, but still wish the development the best of luck, as we can always use more ice in the city. As for the Ice growth when they return, if schedules can be coordinated with the Fuel, what could be better than to have high level hockey available to go see every weekend of the season? Good luck with the development and the return of the Ice.

  3. How many parking spaces do they have at Ironworks? Will residents have reserved spaces or will they have to troll for a space among the people that are there at Ruth Chris & Sangiovese?

  4. You do not get speeding ticket first time you speed and this is not first time Mr.Page has speed. One act should not define a man and this one act won't. He got off with a slap on the wrist. I agree with judge no person was injured by his actions. The state was robbed of money by paying too much rent for a building and that money could have been used for social services. The Page family maybe "generous" with their money but for most part all of it is dirty money that he obtained for sources that are not on the upright. Page is the kind of lawyer that gives lawyers a bad name. He paid off this judge like he has many other tine and walked away. Does he still have his license. I believe so. Hire him to get you confiscated drug money back. He will. It will cost you.

  5. I remain amazed at the level of expertise of the average Internet Television Executive. Obviously they have all the answers and know the business inside and out.

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