Building Authority says SMG managed Roberts poorly

a gas can in a boiler room at Roberts
a gas can in a boiler room at Roberts

By Becky Graham - bio | email 
Posted by Kelsey Wheatcroft - email

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - On Tuesday, a city committee recommended a new management firm for the new arena. On Wednesday, the Evansville Building Authority weighed in with the parks board.

A report was handed to each parks board member. It uses phrases like 'stopped up' and 'caked with feces' to describe the state of toilets at Roberts Stadium last May.

Dave Rector with Evansville Building Authority says, "The toilets were just taped over instead of being repaired, sinks were taped off instead of being repaired, storage rooms and boiler rooms were just loaded and packed with used equipment, and un repaired equipment."

The building authority assumed all maintenance supervision responsibilities in May, with hopes the change could lead to savings, and it has.  To be exact, $300,000 was saved, but repairing the infrastructure has been a challenge.

"If you don't maintain a building it deteriorates," Rector said.  "And at a fast rate."

Rector took 14 News to Roberts Stadium on Wednesday. Our cameras discovered that a storage closet and a boiler room were in disarray. They both contained major fire hazards, including a gas can and propane tank sitting next to wood and cardboard.

SMG does manage three of facilities in Evansville, but Rector says none of them were as poorly maintained as Roberts.

14 News received this statement from SMG late Wednesday afternoon:

"Prior to the building authority taking over responsibility for maintenance and repair, SMG operated Roberts Stadium and The Victory Theatre under extremely limited operating funds for maintenance and repairs, and with virtually no money available for capital repairs.

The recent statements by Mr. Rector are overstated, and appear to be part of an effort to cast SMG as the scapegoat in a political struggle.

SMG has always managed the 55-year-old Roberts Stadium with an eye toward saving the taxpayers of Evansville and Vanderburgh County as much money as possible, especially while the new arena was being planned and constructed. The building authority, not SMG, has been maintaining Roberts Stadium for over nine months, since April of 2010."

To read the report that was handed to each parks board member, click here. (PDF)

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