During its regular monthly meeting Tuesday night, the City Plan Commission unanimously approved a site plan for a grand stand at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds.
The plan came as a unanimous recommendation from the Fairgrounds Ad-Hoc Committee, at their July 9th meeting.
During that meeting, the committee agreed upon taking bids on a 2,500 and 3,000 seat grandstand structure to be built just west of the previous grandstand location, as well as a 15,000 square foot “Event Center” on the far west side of the grounds, near Sales Street.
Initial discussions at the Ad-Hoc Committee’s June meeting debated over a roof option, however after research of other similar grandstands around the state, city administrator Dave Johnson advised the committee of a roof serving minimal benefit.
“Unless you are seated directly in the middle, a roof allows very little protection. If it rains, you will get wet and if the sun is out, you will feel it.”
At the July meeting, the committee moved forward with an option to build footings along with the grandstand structure, which would allow for future addition of a roof, if that were to become a preferred option.
Johnson also added estimated cost for a roof would be an additional $300,000.
6th District Alderman Dave Sukow was in agreement.
“From the grandstands I have seen at both fairgrounds and high schools, there was no roof. It’s a luxury we can do without.”
Both RFP (Request for Proposal) options will call for a mix of both stadium and bench seating.
Stadium seating would consist of individual, molded plastic seats measuring 23” across for accommodation and comfort purposes, and in turn could be sold at a slightly higher cost.
Another benefit to stadium seating as explained by Johnson, is that of attracting a wider variety of entertainment.
“When we are looking to book entertainment, one of the first questions promoters will ask is what sort of venue and seating we have. If we don’t have stadium seating, they will pass us up for the next in line.”
Bench seating would consist of aluminum benches and back-rests.
Handicap and companion seating is also planned in the front row of each seating section.
As Johnson further explained, the grandstand location was adjusted due to a variety of factors.
“The grandstand needed to be moved further west to better center it, to allow for events to be held in front of the new grandstand. The old grandstand was constructed before the Humane Society was on the property and the racetrack extended further to the east.”
The commission’s approval however was given only for the grandstand structure, and will consider the “Event Center” at a later date.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Johnson stated RFP’s were sent out on Monday.
The matter will now move on for Common Council approval at their August 11th meeting.