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Races on despite grandstand closure at Scioto Downs

Grandstand at Scioto Downs covered with tarps and netting as a safety precaution. (WSYX/WTTE)

The popular Scioto Downs Racino is preparing to kick off racing season but there are some big changes happening now after structural problems were found at the grandstand.

For more than half a century, horse racing fans have been able to watch from the grandstand, however, this year’s inspection showed concern over the roof and worry concrete could crumble.

A letter to the Ohio State Racing Commission explained it “could cause safety concerns” and the racino is “closing the grandstand to the public.”

Ashley Redmon, a member of the public relations team, explained the problems are limited to what was once the largest inverted concrete ceiling when it was built 58 years ago. What’s now being done is part of a proactive safety plan. Netting has been added below the roof to protect the public.

“Should anything crumble during the construction phase, everything’s going to be caught,” Redmon said. “Even though we’re lacking the grandstand, we will still have plenty of spaces for our guests to come enjoy the races, eat and drink.”

Without all of that seating, the monthly concerts this season have been canceled. Scioto Downs is trying to help find other venues for the performers including country music star, Travis Tritt.

For now, the lower area and patio will be transformed into the hot spot for guests, surrounded by food, drinks and betting machines.

“I don’t think anyone wants to see us have to completely rip something apart and build it fresh,” Redmon said. “I think we’d like to try to preserve it.”

Despite the yellow tape, it’s off to the races beginning next Tuesday, May 9.

Scioto Downs is having several studies done on the grandstand. Once completed, the racino will make a final call on how to move forward. A meeting before the Ohio State Racing Commission about the grandstand is scheduled for next week.

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