During its regular monthly meeting Tuesday evening, the Common Council wasted no time in placing the final stamp of approval on a new grandstand structure at the former Lincoln County Fairgrounds, by unanimous 8-0 vote.
A preliminary proposal for a grandstand was approved in early July by the mayor’s Ad-Hoc Fairgrounds committee.
As part of that meeting, the committee decided to move forward with RFP (Request For Proposal) for both a 2,500 and 3,000 seat grandstand structure. During discussion that evening, the committee decided against a roofed structure and instead moved forward with an option to build footings along with the grandstand, which would allow for the addition of a roof in the future.
Also during that meeting, City administrator Dave Johnson estimated cost for a roof would be an additional $300,000.
RFP options called 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 was also included in the front row of each seating section.
The plan garnered unanimous City Plan Commission approval in early August and unanimous Common Council approval at its August meeting.
Then just three weeks ago, Johnson presented the results of the RFP process to the Committee of the Whole. As a result, the committee unanimously approved a bid from Kentucky-based Dant Clayton Corporation in the amount of $1,149,000, for a 3,000 seat structure.
During presentation, Johnson stated the Rodeo Association and Fair Association indicated a preference for the 3,000 seat structure over that of 2,500 seats. He further explained how the project drew interest from from seven manufacturers, resulting in the submission of bids from Dant Clayton and Texas-based Southern Bleacher Company Inc. in the amount of $1,324,155.
Adding an assurance of sorts to the selected bidder, Johnson detailed how seats from both bidders were “tested” prior to the opening of the sealed bids.
“The RFP required the inclusion of a seating sample from each bidder,” Johnson explained. “These samples were to be delivered three days prior to the bid opening. I had individuals try the seating from both bidders and the opinions from more than 25 individuals have been unanimous. Dant Clayton’s seating samples are more comfortable than those from Southern Bleacher according to everyone who tried them. Both manufacturers submitting bids are well known and have built seating for professional stadiums and speedways around the country,” Johnson added.
The approved bid includes the plans for footings for the possibility of a roof addition as well as handicap and companion seating. In addition, the selected bid from Dant Clayton falls below the $1.2 million in insurance funds which the city will obtain from the county, upon completion of ownership transfer.
Following council action on Tuesday, mayor Bialecki stated ownership transfer will occur at 8:30 AM on Thursday morning at the Lincoln County Service Center on Sales Street. In addition, an official ground breaking ceremony is planned for 1:00 PM on Thursday afternoon at the grounds.
In other matters on Tuesday, the committee unanimously rejected a resolution approving a Conditional Use Permit for a Group Child Care Facility located at 122 N. State Street.
During discussion, second district alderman Pete Lokemoen spoke in opposition to the resolution, citing city ordinance restrictions.
“The application asks for the use of the entire building as a business, but our code is pretty clear that properties in a residential zone should remain residential. Therefore I am against this resolution.”
Bialecki was in agreement as was 8th District alderman Tim Meehean.
“I am aware of the need for this type of service in the city and I commend the folks who are trying to bring this service in,” Bialecki stated.
“But a few years ago, we had folks who were rejected for the same reason as Mr. Lokemoen is referring to. Therefore I feel it would be unfair to approve this application tonight.”
“We should remain consistent with what we have been doing,” Meehean added.