Next Mower County Grandstand Taking Shape

Posted at: 02/04/2013 6:05 PM
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 News) -- It was a fixture on the Austin landscape for generations. Saturday, it was reduced to rubble. But tomorrow, members of the Mower County board will meet to discuss what comes next.

"We're going to actually advertise for bids," said County Commissioner Jerry Reinartz. He serves on the county board’s “building committee.”

And with the rubble still cooling from Saturday's controlled burn, Reinartz said the next grandstand is already in the works.

"We're talking about a steel grandstand that would seat 1500 people, a roof over it, new up to code seating,” along with a modern sound system and lighting.

"At the last meeting of the year the county board did set some money aside for this project," Reinartz told us.

"The board assigned $500,000 in our fund balance toward a replacement structure," county coordinator Craig Oscarson exoplained.

"$500,000 would give us about a thousand seat system."

The fair board is asking for something bigger than that.

"Their position is they need 1,500 seats, minimum," Oscarson said.

So that's what the building committee will ask for bids on, though a consultant says a bigger capacity will mean a bigger price tag.

"Around $775,000," said Reinartz.

“The difference will either have to be made up by internal funds or the building committee will recommend that we reach out to the community," added Oscarson.

"And then if we can't make up the gap the board will have to decide if they award the bid or do they take a step back and do only a thousand seat system."

“If we’re going to do it, we're going to do it right," Reinartz added.

"The hope is we would open the bids in March, award them in the middle of March and begin construction," said Oscarson.

Regardless of what shape it takes, it's hoped that the new grandstand can be read for use in time for this year's Mower County fair.