Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, July 19, 1999

Bid process delays fairground bleacher repairs

By John Holler
Wright County Correspondent

Sometimes in government, procedures force a delay in getting things accomplished. Such was the case at the July 13 meeting of the Wright County Board.

A week earlier, the board had approved allocating money to get the bleachers at the county fairgrounds in Howard Lake approved to meet new state codes, but procedurally, the action proved to be a bit too hasty.

County Coordinator Dick Norman told the board that the repairs to the bleachers, expected to be in excess of $20,000, would have to go through a formal bid process - a requirement that will probably not allow the work to be completed before this year's Wright County Fair.

"This will most likely preclude us getting anything done before this fair," Norman told the board. "I think the public shouldn't be afraid of safety problems with the bleachers at the fairgrounds. They're fine. They just need to be brought up to the new state codes."

The new regulations were brought about following the death of a youngster in Hutchinson that slipped between the rows of bleachers and died of injuries sustained from the fall. While the county technically does not need to have bleachers in compliance until Jan. 1, 2001, the delay is something that didn't sit well with the commissioners.

"None of this would be an issue if not for the tragedy that happened in Hutchinson," Commissioner Jack Russek said. "However, it did happen and we have to take steps to make sure something like that doesn't happen here. It's unfortunate that a delay will keep it from getting done before the county fair. We wanted to get it done, but it just wasn't possible."

The board requested that bid specifications be sent out immediately and that the bleachers be brought to code as quickly as possible - whether before the county fair or after.

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