Fairground Work Almost On Schedule

Thursday, May 15th 2008, 6:42 pm
By: News On 6

Members of the Vision 2025 oversight committee got to see how your tax money is being spent at the Tulsa County Fairgrounds. The county is racing the clock to finish improvements to the Midway, after December's ice storm put them almost two months behind schedule.

The News On 6's Steve Berg reports there is a lot of pressure because the fair is just four months away.

"The weatherman has been a real challenge for us," said Expo Square President Rick Bjorklund.

Bjorklund says they are within a day or two of being on schedule with the renovation of the State Fair Midway and the construction of the new Exchange Building, the two critical components to getting the State Fair started on time.

It's a remarkable achievement, because for weeks an army of electrical trucks used the fairgrounds for their staging area.

"It was six, arguably six to eight weeks behind following the ice storm," said Bjorklund.

Vision 2025 committee members got a tour of the construction. They've moved 60,000 yards of dirt, basically leveling what was a steep incline, giving them more usable space.

"Two percent is a comfortable grade to walk on, makes it so it's very wheelchair accessible, good for vehicle traffic.  You don't have to jack rides way up and down," said Kirby Crowe of Vision 2025

The county got a big assist from the sub-contractors on the Exchange Building, in particular, Bennett Steel and Cantera Concrete.

They brought in more people, working more overtime to get the project back on schedule, but charging a discount rate.

"It could've cost us a half-million dollars.  Cantera only charged us $13,000," said Bjorklund. "That's just a very wonderful thing for them to do.  They look at us and said we know you're in a jam, and we're going to help you."

They're also going to bury the electrical lines under the new Midway, so fairgoers don't have to step over extension cords as they're walking.