The seats at Great American Ballpark are falling apart, but ex-inmates are fixing them

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Great American Ballpark: helping to bankrupt Hamilton County, Ohio AND prematurely falling apart! It’s a win-win. Actually, it’s a win-win-win, because now it’s a job-creator too!

Hamilton County has adopted a do-it-yourself approach to fix stadium seats in the Great American Ball Park that are unexpectedly falling apart.

Facing costs as high as $5 million the county hired a local firm to design new seat molds, found a plastics company to make the backs and bottoms and is paying ex-jail inmates and others about $10 an hour to install them.

They’re saving money that way, it seems, and now it’s only costing taxpayers $1.3 million. Meanwhile, the Reds will pay around that much to Brayan Pena in 2015.

My favorite part about this is how, in the Cincinnati Enquirer’s original report of the story, the thing is couched as a fun, quirky “welp, looks like the county had to get creative!” kind of story, not really questioning why in the heck the seats are falling apart so early nor suggesting that maybe the Reds could help out. Given, you know, that the park is a massive drain on the citizens of Hamilton County that benefits, basically, only the Reds. But life is funny!

It’s not a business the county ever expected to be in, especially so soon after the original seats were installed. Stadium seats typically would be expected to last as long as 20 to 25 years, but Feldkamp said Great American’s seats began to fail as early as 2008, just five years after the stadium opened in 2003 . . .¬†Feldkamp said the seats look so good the county might be able to make some money on the mold designs by licensing them to other stadiums.

Those crazy stadiums!