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Future of grandstands in limbo

Friday, December 17, 2010

According to officials with the Brazil City Parks Board, the grandstand at Roy Brann Stadium is in serious need of repairs. [Order this photo]
The stands are in bad shape and members of the Brazil Parks Board are aware of it.

They're just not sure what to do about it.

During a recent meeting, the Park Board discussed the grandstands at Roy Brann Stadium, located in Forest Park.

President Ruth Ann Jeffries told board members contact was made with the board's insurance provider, which stated repairs on the stands were estimated in the hundreds of thousands and possibly more.

"It really is in bad repair," Jeffries said.

During its November meeting, the board agreed to begin looking into the steps needed to refurbish the grandstands with cooperation from the Clay Youth League (CYL) in order for them to remain open for the 2011 season.

Jeffries said a local contractor estimated repair costs for the understructure between $15,000-$18,000.

Board members then contacted their insurance provider regarding the issue. Representatives from Forest Sherer Insurance, Co., has informed the board the grandstands were not in code compliance. For example, the aisles are too narrow and they are not handicapped accessible.

Jeffries said the CYL contract states the organization is responsible for the upkeep of the grandstands, adding they have made repairs.

Still, repairing the grandstands will be costly and Jeffries said the board did not have the necessary funds for a project or that magnitude.

She said she has investigated the possibility of applying for grants, talking to representatives of the Department of Natural Resources among other sources, including the possibility of obtaining a historical grant.

Jeffries said she learned a rehabilitation grant might work for such a project. However, that might be difficult as well as Jeffries said these types of grants are matching grants.

For example, if the park board were to obtain a $50,000 rehabilitation grant, they would have to match the funds.

"It's not encouraging," Jeffries said, adding if the grandstands are not repaired by the start of the 2011 CYL season, they will have to be fenced off.

"That stadium is important to a lot of people," Jeffries said. "A lot of people are sentimental to that grandstand. But the bottom line is, it's going to take an awful lot of money."

Jeffries said it has been estimated the last time the grandstands were refurbished was in 1956.

"I think we've been very fortunate," board member Caroline McCullough said, regarding there being no accidents involving the stadium.

Meanwhile, board members discussed the possibility of going to the Brazil City Council to discuss having the streets in Forest Park paved.

Jeffries said the board would have to approach the council first, which in turn, could then discuss the issue with the Clay County Commissioners.

Earlier this year, the City of Brazil and county commissioners worked together to pave Pinckley Street and John Stelle Drive, which is an entrance into the park off of Pinckley Street.

Jeffries said she has discussed the issue with the Clay County Parks Association as well, but reiterated the board is in a state of limbo regarding the possible paving.

"We kind of have to take a back seat on this," she said, adding she hopes to hear more at the turn of the year.

In other business, the board:

* Approved the purchase of a 15HP Peerless pump for the park pool filtering system at an estimated cost of $3,498, and

* Approved to maintain status quo regarding meetings for the 2011 calendar year. The board will continue to have its meetings at 6:30 p.m., on the second Tuesday of each month, at Brazil City Hall.

The park board's next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 11.

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Paving in the park should be way behind paving streets that businesses and residents depend on. If they are rough, at the most grind them and make them chip n seal or gravel. Really? If my money goes to pave the park I will &#!% myself! LOL

As for the grandstands I have no suggestions. beuller? anyone?

-- Posted by wtfizdat on Fri, Dec 17, 2010, at 10:42 PM

Try the Cal Ripkin foundation.

-- Posted by lifehasitsmoments on Sat, Dec 18, 2010, at 12:16 AM

There was alot left out. There was a group of concern citizens who want to donate money to have the streets in the park repaved. The streets are city streets so the park board have to go thru city council. To bring Roy Brann up to code will cost close to $10000.00.

-- Posted by donalde on Sat, Dec 18, 2010, at 7:07 AM

Donations are good!

-- Posted by wtfizdat on Sat, Dec 18, 2010, at 8:16 AM

How many landmarks do we have in Clay County? The water fountain and what else? Think about when Brazil and even Northview at the beginning played there and how many moments of excitement happened there. Whatever needs to be done to preserve the grandstands should be done?

-- Posted by Ron Archer on Sat, Dec 18, 2010, at 2:27 PM

My comment should read $100000.00 to bring it up to code.

-- Posted by donalde on Sat, Dec 18, 2010, at 4:10 PM

Why not let the CYL pay for it no one else uses it. Sounds to me like more money than there worth. With the changes to bring to code for Handicap acc. It would be more afforable to just replace

-- Posted by kd323 on Sat, Dec 18, 2010, at 7:21 PM

Well, for Pete's sake. Let's do something to preserve this landmark. There's not that much left of the ol' Brazil with the memories these bleachers must have. If Forest Sherer Insurance resists in insuring them... duh, get another insurance company!

What did the handicapped do when these things were first constructed? I'm not dissing the handicapped at all, but come on... if you install ramps and elevators, it'll ruin the entire structure as far as history goes. Just as well raze them.

Besides, someone may may slide across the bleachers and get a splinter in their butt and sue the park board.

-- Posted by Dagnabbit on Sat, Dec 18, 2010, at 11:43 PM

Can't they just construct a separate handicap accessible seating area near the existing bleachers and get away with that? Then they could do some repairs/upgrades to the old historic bleachers and keep them as they are.

-- Posted by open minded on Sun, Dec 19, 2010, at 9:41 AM

It must be bring up to code or not use at all. No insurance would cover it in the state it is in. it will have to be completely dismatled and rebuilt to code.

-- Posted by donalde on Sun, Dec 19, 2010, at 11:42 AM

I have only lived here 15 years so are we sure we are talking historical landmarks or just personal local nostalgia?

How about some portable stands that could be jointly owned by several organizations in the area so they could be moved to various locations when needed? Stands are not historical, just a place to sit.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Sun, Dec 19, 2010, at 6:32 PM

I'm confused by this poorly written article, as I'm sure many others are. The insurance provider stated repairs to the stands would be $100k+? Why would an insurance provider get an estimate on their own? Forest Sherer said the stands were not in compliance with current codes, but are they not going to continue insuring them unless they're brought up to current code? Whenever codes change, do they stop insuring the structure?

If every building/structure in Brazil had to be brought up to current code every time repairs were necessary or when the code changed, we wouldn't have many structures left!

The reporter needs to go back to the well on this one. Spending $100k+ in these times, if it doesn't need to be spent, is ridiculous. New ones don't need to be built out of wood. Low maintenance aluminum frames with splinter-free seats can be purchased as a unit (see http://www.preferred-seating.com/bleache...

And landmark? I doubt these old wooden bleachers are going to make any historical register.

The Park board needs to get all the facts/options before coming to us for money. And the reporter needs to revisit this story.

-- Posted by CaptBrent on Mon, Dec 20, 2010, at 4:03 PM

Tear them down! Tear them down! CYL cannot afford to repair them! I believe that CYL would more willing to tear them down and get new bleachers, but it seems that there is a lot of resistance to that. Maybe those who are resistant to tearing them down, should "foot" the bill to refurbish the current bleachers. I don't believe that the Cal Ripken Foundation is going to jump on board to pay for repairs. They would probably suggest scrapping them and building new bleachers. It is a wonder that someone has not been hurt on the current bleachers. I have lived here all my life and spent many, many hours at the ballpark. I don't believe I would miss those bleachers if they were torn down. At this point, they are an embarrassment!

-- Posted by BrazilBillie on Tue, Dec 21, 2010, at 8:42 PM

While the current bleachers may be an 'embarrassment' to some .. my sons grew up playing on that field and I watched from THOSE bleachers. They ARE part of my family's history.

That said, surely there are enough self-employed contractors in the area who could donate lumber (a little at a time) and those whose children played (or play) on the field could donate their time to fix these bleachers up!

Making ALL of the bleachers wheelchair accessible is insane .. but a specific portion would be a nice addition.

-- Posted by Emmes on Wed, Dec 22, 2010, at 9:33 PM


I realize that those bleachers are a part of your family's history. So was the car that took your sons to that field to play but I bet you don't have that car anymore.

My parents sat in those bleachers as my brothers and I played on field. I sat in those bleachers as my boys played on that field. So those bleachers are a part of my family's history as well. But you know what? They're still just BLEACHERS!

If they can be fixed at a reasonable cost, then by all means fix them. If not, then scrap them and build new! Sometimes it's just time to move on.

-- Posted by BrazilBillie on Thu, Dec 23, 2010, at 2:08 PM

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