Thursday, January 17, 2013

Coliseum Renovation receives Big Boost

The internal demolition of the Coliseum is now, essentially, complete!  All but the original ice floor has been removed from the 1939 structure, and that will get replaced, too, once the reconstruction process moves a little further along.  Scaffolding still covers the exterior north face of the building as workers prepare it for tuck pointing when the weather allows.

Progress on the New Arena – scheduled to open this August – continues as planned.  The entire roof has now been erected and work now focuses on the existing South Pavilion, which will adjoin the New Arena to allow easy access in and out for large animals and equipment.

As all this work continues, more good news comes in the form of federal dollars that have been approved for enhancing and beautifying the grounds near the Coliseum in what Project Manager Rich Trombley calls the Pedestrian Pathway project.  This $2 million project consists of five different parts that create a visitor-friendly route from the fairgrounds’ infield directly to the Coliseum.

The five portions of the Pedestrian Pathway include:

  1. Plaza area in front of the Coliseum – enlarged to provide more gathering space and a convenient drop-off area.

  1. Southern entrance to existing Walk Tunnel – a focal point for visitors exiting the Coliseum complete with signage, lighting and landscaping. 

  1. Walk Tunnel – improved signage and lighting for easier navigation for visitors.

  1. Northern entrance to existing Walk Tunnel – a focal point for visitors parking in the infield headed to the Coliseum complete with signage, lighting and ADA accessibility. 

  1. Half-mile infield track – the existing all-weather stone horse-training surface will be relocated away from the northern entrance of the Walk Tunnel and toward the north side of the infield.  This will allow for proper ADA accessibility and eliminate potential horse/pedestrian accidents.

Thanks to the federal government’s Transportation Enhancement grant, just $400,000 will come from the Coliseum construction budget.  Full steam ahead – and it’s just January!

Submitted by Andy Klotz

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