September 30, 2009 IMLAY CITY — Demolition of the grandstands at R.A. Grettenberger Field began Monday.
The school district received the okay from their insurance company to remove what remained of the burned out structure. Rick Duthler, who did recent restoration work on the grandstands, oversaw the demolition project. The work was done by Novak Construction.
It appears, Grounds Supervisor Deby Smith said, that the 70 year plus grandstands can be rebuilt and historically replicated.
According to the Michigan Building Code, the grandstands on Second Street, north of the Middle School, qualifies as a historical building that can be restored to resemble its original construction.
Smith said they are also hopeful that they can keep and post the Michigan Historical Marker that was to be dedicated less than two weeks before the Sept. 2 fire that destroyed the grandstands. Technically, the marker notes the historical significance of the grounds which were developed for a variety of recreations including football and ice skating. They are named after longtime Superintendent R.A. Grettenberger who was instrumental in its creation.
It's likely that another plaque will need to be posted which will note that the new grandstands are a replica of the original.
Smith said it remains to be seen when construction will begin.
The grandstands, built during the Great Depression by a Works Progress crew, were in disrepair almost two years ago when the Imlay City Alumni Association initiated a restoration campaign that generated $33,000 in donations.
Repairs were made, painting was completed and new landscaping was added to the site in preparation for a Sept. 12 dedication ceremony. Sadly, fire severely damaged the structure the week prior. The cause of blaze is still unknown but arson was ruled out early in the investigation.