Tuesday, May 07, 2002

Reds' home on time, on budget

But Hall of Fame won't be ready for opening

By Dan Klepal, dklepal@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Decorated with a tree and American flag, the final light stanchion is set into place.
(Michael E. Keating photo)
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        The top of Great American Ball Park is now in place, and the rest of the $330 million facility is coming together nicely, too.

        A “topping out” ceremony was held Monday at the ballpark to mark when the highest piece of steel is put in place.

        In this case, it was the last of the dozen 230-foot light racks that are meant to be one of the architectural signatures of the ballpark. An evergreen and an American flag adorned the steel as it was welded into place.

        “It's a milestone day for the ballpark,” project manager Arnie Rosenberg said. He told Hamilton County commissioners the project is on time and on budget.

        But the Reds' Hall of Fame building won't be ready with the rest of the ballpark for Opening Day next year.

The Reds administrative offices are taking shape adjacent to the ballpark.
(Michael Snyder photo)
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        The reason: A large area across the street from the building has to be filled with between 5 feet and 15 feet of dirt. That could cause the Hall of Fame foundation to sink if it is laid now.

        Mr. Rosenberg said it would cost about $300,000 to guard against the sinkage and have the Hall of Fame open with the rest of the ballpark.

        “We gave the Reds the option to pay the additional cost. It was a business decision for them,” Mr. Rosenberg said.

        The delay in opening the Hall will be between 60 and 90 days.

Artist's rendering of Great American Ballpark.
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        The county's contingency fund — the account to pay for unexpected costs and guard against overruns — was reduced by $1 million last month, from $7.4 million to $6.4 million because of change orders.

        Mr. Rosenberg said there is enough left in the account to make it through the end of the first phase of construction, which ends on Opening Day next year.

        Commissioner Tom Neyer was pleased with the update.

        “Keep the champagne corked until the right time, but things are trending very positively,” Mr. Neyer said.


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