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Indy speedway replaces stage following inspection

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A temporary outdoor stage set up to entertain race fans at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been replaced after it failed to meet new safety standards enacted by the state following last year's deadly stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair.

State building inspectors rejected the privately built stage Thursday, four days before the Indianapolis 500, after speedway officials couldn't provide required technical documents, WTHR-TV reported.

"They were unable to provide the necessary engineering wind and weight load. The speedway was very cooperative. We told them it was noncompliant. They understood, brought in another stage that is totally compliant," said Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson.

Greeson said the speedway met the building and engineering standards even before they were made mandatory.

The new rules were adopted after seven people died and 58 were injured when high winds sent stage rigging plunging into a crowd of fans awaiting a concert by country duo Sugarland on Aug. 13.

The regulations also require each stage to be covered by an emergency response plan intended to get fans to safety before severe weather hits.

Under the speedway's plan, WTHR reports, banners and screens are brought down with winds gusting at 20 mph. At 40 mph, the speakers and canopy are lowered.

"There are tens of thousands of dollars of engineering analysis that were required to make sure we know mathematically the limits of that stage in a wind," said Kevin Forbes, the speedway's director of engineering. "At the same time, we are now moving people away. As the wind speeds pick up, they are moving people further and further away from the stage structure."

Forbes was involved in the creation of the new state rules. He said the plans include a clear chain of command to make sure decisions are made and carried out in an emergency.

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  1. PJ - Mall operators like Simon, and most developers/ land owners, establish individual legal entities for each property to avoid having a problem location sink the ship, or simply structure the note to exclude anything but the property acting as collateral. Usually both. The big banks that lend are big boys that know the risks and aren't mad at Simon for forking over the deed and walking away.

  2. Do any of the East side residence think that Macy, JC Penny's and the other national tenants would have letft the mall if they were making money?? I have read several post about how Simon neglected the property but it sounds like the Eastsiders stopped shopping at the mall even when it was full with all of the national retailers that you want to come back to the mall. I used to work at the Dick's at Washington Square and I know for a fact it's the worst performing Dick's in the Indianapolis market. You better start shopping there before it closes also.

  3. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  4. If you only knew....

  5. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

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