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Coliseum To Remain Shuttered Through Illinois State Fair

Raymond Cunningham

The Illinois State Fairground's iconic Coliseum won't open its doors to guests and shows this year.

The 116-year-old amphitheater closed last October after being deemed unsafe for use. Seven shows must leave the fairgrounds for alternative sites. These include horse shows, a midget-car race and an ancient athletics re-enactment. Illinois Department of Agriculture officials are scrambling to provide on-site alternatives for some shows while the Coliseum awaits funding for urgent repairs amid the state's 20-month-long budget impasse.

An informal estimate last fall put repair costs for the three-tiered structure at close to $3.7 million.

A private foundation is beginning to raise that money. The board's chairman says they have roughly $5,000 so far. The board has discussed selling naming rights and commemorative bricks.

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