Tuesday, October 17, 2000

Reds park within budget

By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        People walking along the outfield concourse at Great American Ball Park will get a million-dollar view inside the stadium, even without a ticket.

        Make that a $2.8 million view.

        Hamilton County commissioners are expected Wednesday to approve spending that amount to expand the new stadium's center field concourse, which will be open to the public when the Reds don't have a home game.

        The public will be allowed to walk along the concourse, which will offer sweeping views inside the $330 million facility, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. on nongame days. The concourse will be closed to everyone except ticket holders on game days. It also will be closed to the public during the week before Opening Day.

        “We see this as a great benefit for the public,” said the county's construction executive, Mike Sieving.

        The county can afford the change because it saved $5.7 million on the contract to tear down Cinergy Field. Some of that will be used to pay for the larger concourse.

        The county's construction managers explained to commissioners Monday how they will guard against the type of overruns that plagued the Paul Brown Stadium project, which is more than $46 million over budget.

        Contingency accounts have been built into every phase of the project, they say, and the county has more than $8 million in additional funds that can be used for emergencies.

        The baseball project, which started in August, is on budget and schedule so far, according to project manager Arnie Rosenberg.

        Bids for the stadium's steel superstructure will be opened early next month, with the work beginning after Thanksgiving. A portion of Cinergy Field's outfield wall will be knocked down, beginning Nov. 7.

        Commissioners were pleased with the news.

        “There will continue to be challenges in front of us, but right now this project is in very good shape,” Commissioner Tom Neyer said.

        A portion of Cinergy has to be torn down so crews have enough room to build the new stadium.


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