Letter: County should rethink grandstand demo

Published 10:22 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

Letter to the Editor

After privately grieving the planned destruction of our fairgrounds grandstand by the County Board in a bonfire, I was encouraged when, finally, one public official stepped up in an effort to preserve this structure for the enjoyment of future generations. Thank you, Mr. Repinski, for making the case for preservation. I am hoping there are many more who feel as you do.

It is difficult for me to understand why some of our officials are motivated to so quickly destroy something that has provided entertainment to many generations of Mower County residents, myself included. From previous Herald reports, it would appear that a structural engineer’s report and a ballpark repair estimate convinced the Mower County Board of Commissioners that the Grandstand had to go. Considering the historical significance of the grandstand, couldn’t we at least slow things down in order to investigate solutions? Another year of bleachers during the 2013 fair probably wouldn’t cause a riot.

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The City of Austin has raised considerable financial support to restore several downtown buildings, most much older than the Grandstand, with beautiful results. The Austin HRA has embarked on a program to rehabilitate older homes in partnership with the college. Could we not mount a similar effort to save the Grandstand? There is obviously a wealth of talent in the community that could be tapped for the endeavor. Perhaps even financial assistance is out there somewhere, as well as volunteer hours.

Much has been written about the rapidly rising property taxes in our county. Crime rates, poverty and out of home placements have been given as factors involved in the increase.

Given that the professionals in Mower County are doing their very best to mitigate the negative effects of these factors, can some small attention be given to making positive things happen for individuals and families in the community?

Bruce Henricks