Rented Bleachers to Replace Grandstand For Olmsted County Fair
A temporary plan has been unveiled for dealing with the closure of the grandstand at Graham Park due to some recently discovered structural issues.
Olmsted County today announced the County Board will be asked to authorize using $60,000 from the county's contingency fund to cover the cost of renting temporary bleachers for use during the upcoming Olmsted County Fair, which will run from July 24 through July 30.
“Over the years, the county has invested funds to bring the grandstand up to code for Olmsted County Fair events,” said Olmsted County Board of Commissioners Chair Gregory Wright. “However, the 85-year-old structure is constantly exposed to Minnesota’s harsh weather conditions and, not to mention, underutilized. As we look to make further Graham Park enhancements, we aim to make thoughtful investments to create desirable amenities that will be well-used by our community’s residents and visitors.”
A news release says the temporary bleachers will have seating for about 2000 people, which equates to roughly the number of seats available in the covered section of the old grandstand. It’s expected that the temporary installation will accommodate fairgoers at several popular events, including the demolition derby and bull riding.
“This temporary measure allows us to envision a new perspective for Olmsted County Fair events,” said Olmsted County Fair Board President Scott Schneider. “We are thrilled to offer seating options for our cherished fair events this year. Working with the board of commissioners, we look forward to developing a sustainable long-term solution.”
County officials say the Board of Commissioners and the County Fair Board will continue their work on exploring future possibilities for the grandstand area. The Graham Park Master Plan envisions replacing the current grandstand area with a large green space with some seating that could be used for musical performances and other outdoor events.
The plan also includes constructing a new 30,000-square-foot exhibition center and a Farmers Market Pavilion. The Minnesota Legislature recently approved $8 million for the exhibition center project.