Deficient bleachers will force decision on Tipp City stadium

City Park Stadium in Tipp City is shown in a photo before the turf was replaced. CONTRIBUTED

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City Park Stadium in Tipp City is shown in a photo before the turf was replaced. CONTRIBUTED

TIPP CITY — The Tipp City Exempted Village Schools are exploring options for dealing with aging bleachers at the City Park Stadium.

The board of education heard brief details of several options during its April meeting. Among them is not holding games at the stadium in the fall, a decision that will need to be made before the end of this month, Kim Hagen, district business operations coordinator, told the board.

New bleachers are among stadium updates called for in a phased plan for stadium renovations. But when privately raised money would be available for the next phase, which includes seating, is not known.

Other options Hagen said were being explored were replacing existing seating, repairing seating, purchasing some but not all bleachers needed for both the home and visitors side and removing seating and having people bring their own seating.

The cost for those options outlined ranged from $85,000 to more than $646,000. Those figures did not include a cost to demolish the existing seating and a concrete pad on which to place new bleachers. A cost for that work has been requested, Hagen said.

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Superintendent Mark Stefanik said options need to be explored because the district is aware of deficiencies following an inspection report that he called “not a positive one.” The condition would require “extensive repairs,” he said, plus the bleachers do not meet handicapped accessibility requirements.

Tipp Pride Association, a nonprofit citizen-run group formed in 2016 to raise money for an updated stadium, saw its activities stalled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

TPA now is looking to make a change in leadership to bring in new blood and new ideas, said Mashell Carmack, who has served as TPA president. She and vice president Scott George are stepping aside, but Carmack said she would be available to talk with new leaders.

Two of five project phases have been completed, including placing underground infrastructure, installing new stadium turf and building a restrooms/concessions/storage building and related work. The cost of construction so far has been around $2.4 million.

The third phase calls for new home side bleachers, press box and associated work, which had a cost estimate of about $1.3 million around four years ago.

An updated cost estimate for the third phase is needed but is not being pursued at this time by TPA, with rapidly changing construction costs and no indication of when funding to start might be available.

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The stadium is owned by the city but leased by the schools under a long-term lease agreement.

The city provided funding toward the restrooms because they are shared with the adjacent City Park. The city removed the old restrooms and plans to make improvements to a grassy area near the stadium for parking. They’ll also take down the old stadium lights when that time comes, said City Manager Tim Eggleston.

“I’m not sure where the city needs to participate any further with this project, nor is it our obligation to do so. Council can always decide to do otherwise,” he said.

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