* 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.
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.