Hamilton County turns to ex-inmates to help fix Reds' stadium

Tuesday December 16th, 2014

The Cincinnati Reds have a seating problem at Great American Ballpark: Despite the fact that the stadium has only been open for about a decade, many of its seats are already decaying.

Hamilton County, where the stadium is located, devised a innovative solution to fixing the problem, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer. The government partnered with the Hamilton County Re-entry Program, which assists former inmates as they adapt to life outside prison, to put ex-inmates to work repairing the stadium, paying $10 per hour to install 39,000 new seats. 

The initiative had some trouble getting off the ground, but eventually the program was able to find a core group of workers to install the new seats, according to The Enquirer

"The tools are basic tools, but the learning curve was difficult," said Jim Morgan, the project manager.

Some workers have excelled. Alonzo Franklin started out installing seats and is now a supervisor. "It gives us an opportunity to be proud of something," he said. "It makes you feel good that you get to be part of something so big."

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The Reds' home opener for the 2015 season will be played on April 6 against the Pirates, but the group hopes to complete the project in time for the All-Star game, which Cincinnati will host. 

- Brad Rowland

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