Fair stands coming down

Published 10:31 am Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The grandstand at the Mower County fairgrounds was been deemed unsafe by a structural engineer. County commissioners will decide whether allow the Austin Fire Department to use it for a controlled burn. -- Herald file photo

Board to decide whether to burn structure Oct. 23

One thing is for certain: The grandstand is coming down.

The county board unanimously voted Tuesday to demolish the condemned grandstand of the Mower County Fairgrounds.

“We consider it cost prohibitive to rehabilitate,” said Commissioner Jerry Reinartz.

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Questions still remain as to how the structure will be removed.

One option is to have the Austin Fire Department do a controlled burn, but first an environmental inspection is needed to see whether there is asbestos, lead paint, fluorescent lights or any other potential hazards in the structure.

Public Works Director Mike Hanson said a similar inspection is done whenever a bridge is taken down in the county.

Hanson will seek bids on a traditional demolition in case the county is not able to take down the grandstand through a controlled burn.

If the county opts for the controlled burn, the fire department is requesting about a $2,200 reimbursement for about six hours of operations. The board previously discussed Dec. 8 to burn down the structure, but that date would have to be rescheduled since Christmas in the County is that day.

The county board is planning to decide on Oct. 23 how to demolish the structure.

Mower County Fair Board President Neal Anderson said it’s bittersweet to see the grandstand come down, but he compared it to the demolition of other fair buildings that have come down to make way for a new structure.

“I suppose to some people it’s sad,” he said. “For others it’s exciting to see something new.”