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Grandstand roof is rotting

Monday, May 26, 2014

* The grandstand at the Illinois State Fair has some serious roof problems

A section of that roof is falling apart, dropping wood debris on the seats below.

Illinois Department of Agriculture spokesman Jeff Squibb says the problems started when water began seeping under a rubber membrane on the roof and caused the wood to rot.

Squibb says the state’s troubled finances prevented a roof replacement from happening.

A Springfield company has been hired to make the repairs in time for the Illinois State Fair to begin in August.

* More

Illinois Department of Agriculture spokesman Jeff Squibb said temporary repairs have been made to ensure fan safety this weekend. And, once the cycle races end, workers will begin permanently fixing the roof as part of a $60,000 emergency contract.

The problems started when water began seeping under a rubber membrane on the grandstand roof. “It caused the wood to rot,” Squibb said Friday.

As workers began cleaning the seating area in anticipation of Sunday’s race, they noticed pieces of the roof in the stands.

In order for the races to go on, workers installed a safety barrier on the underside of the roof for protection.

Squibb said the problems might not have occurred if there was more money set aside for maintenance at the fairgrounds.

A plan to put video gaming terminals on the fairgrounds was flatly rejected by Gov. Pat Quinn, even though just about every dinky little bar in town now has the machines. Quinn said at the time that the fair is for families, but that’s obviously not the observation of anyone who’s ever been to a beer tent late at night.

That gaming money would’ve been spent on fairground infrastructure, by the way.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


11 Comments
  1. - Downstate GOP Faithless - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 1:02 pm:

    And if anyone knows beer tents its the Cap Fax staff & the JBT people (along with just about every other one of us in the game) :)


  2. - Cassiopeia - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 1:03 pm:

    This is kind of representative of the 6 years of Pat Quinn as Governor.

    His grandstanding roof falling in I mean.


  3. - The Prince - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 1:08 pm:

    Cassiopeia: First candidate for Comment of the Week.


  4. - Nearly Normal - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 1:10 pm:

    Something is rotting in the state of Illinois for sure!


  5. - Norseman - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 2:33 pm:

    Well said, Nearly Normal.


  6. - Ahoy! - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 3:00 pm:

    –That gaming money would’ve been spent on fairground infrastructure, by the way.–

    Than you for point that out, I never understood Quinn’s logic on this. He was handed a financially sustainable source to address the infrastructure issues at the Fairgrounds he passes on it.

    Dear Governor, if their gambling at the grandstand, my kids can still have a great time at the fair, I guarantee it.


  7. - Coach - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 4:45 pm:

    Governor Quinn you amaze me sometimes! How can you sit there and say the fair would not be family friendly if there was horseracing or gaming going on! The State of Illinois has something special in the fairgrounds! But just like your home it needs to be taken care of something you have neglected to do. We finally get an opportunity to bring in revenue to pay for the repairs and you block the opportunity to have horseracing and gaming all year around. Gee if slots bother you so bad at the fair then just make a resolution that the building that has the slot machines will be closed during the fair only! Just a little common sense is needed in that office hopefully someone will come up with it.


  8. - another guy - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 4:58 pm:

    Chunks of concrete have been falling on the crowd at Wrigley Field for years and it’s one of the top tourist destinations in the state. I say let it rot, give the people what they want and reap the benefits.


  9. - RNUG - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 6:15 pm:

    I hope they find a way to fix it properly and quickly.

    We’ve been here before. In the back of my mind I have a memory from the 1960’s of a grandstand roof failure where someone was killed by falling steel, maybe during a demonstration of some kind rappelling to zip lining off the roof.

    It was 1966, three people were killed and it was during a demonstration by the Green Berets:

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1955&dat=19660821&id=_7EhAAAAIBAJ&sjid=BJwFAAAAIBAJ&pg=6778,2329933


  10. - RNUG - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 6:20 pm:

    Should have added the tow truck tightening the zip line was the immediate cause of the collapse. From the quick look at the lawsuits, it appears the US government ended up paying most, if not all, of the settlements.


  11. - Precinct Captain - Monday, May 26, 14 @ 8:10 pm:

    Insert comment complaining about teacher’s unions and “real” priorities.


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