State

Part of grandstand crumbling at state fairgrounds

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois’ dismal finances are being blamed for the disrepair of the grandstand at the state fairgrounds in Springfield.

A section of the roof is falling apart, dropping wood onto the seats below. Cleaners noticed pieces of debris in the stands, and workers had to rush to install a safety barrier on the underside of the roof before this past weekend’s Springfield Mile motorcycle race, which drew a crowd of thousands to the mile-long dirt track.

“The state’s finances have prevented a roof replacement from happening,” Illinois Department of Agriculture spokesman Jeff Squibb told the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers.

Crews will soon begin making permanent repairs to the crumbling roof as part of a $60,000 emergency contract.

The problems started when water began seeping under a rubber membrane on the roof and caused the wood to rot, Squibb said.

A Springfield company has been hired to make the repairs in time for the Illinois State Fair, which begins in August.

Besides the usual mix of horse racing and car races, this year’s lineup at the grandstand includes Pitbull, Florida Georgia Line, Steely Dan and Jake Owen.

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