Tuesday, June 12, 2001

Concert work ruined $40,000 in stadium grass

By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Boy band 'NSync took a man-sized bite out of the Cinergy Field turf during its concert Friday night.

        A crane used to build the band's enormous stage chewed up approximately $40,000 worth of grass in the ballpark's outfield. Concert promoter SFX will get the bill.

        The mess leaves the Reds' grounds crew in a rush to fix the field before the next home game, Friday night against Colorado.

        “I'd like to have another two weeks, but we'll make it work,” head groundskeeper Doug Gallant said.

        Mr. Gallant said the turf protection — a thick plastic covering, which sits on small pegs to distribute weight and keep the material off the turf — did a fine job in front of the stage.

        But all the rain leading up to the show left the turf vulnerable to the 96,000-pound crane brought in to assemble the stage. The grass will be billed to SFX as a “reimbursable expense” under its contract with the county.

        Suzanne Burke, Hamilton County budget director, said there wasn't as much damage to the field as the county anticipated.

        Mr. Gallant said no turf was lost under the plastic covering, or under the stage.

        A large portion of the outfield was torn up, in front of the double doors where the crane came and went. Also a patch in right field was damaged where the crane cut across to get to the infield. A strip of grass from first base to the outfield wall also will have to be replaced.

        The new grass should be installed by Wednesday.

        The WIZ Coors Light Riverfront Jazz Festival will be at the stadium July 20-22. Declan Mullin, director of stadium operations, said that event will be even more challenging than the 'NSync show because the grass will be covered for several days.


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