INTACT New ballpark (left) was protected from implosion. (Photo courtesy of
Jack Curran/

When baseball season begins this spring, Cincinnati Reds fans will enjoy a new $290-million stadium left unscathed from the implosion of its predecessor, only feet away. In 37 seconds on Dec. 23, contractors imploded Cinergy Field, formerly called Riverfront Stadium. After salvaging seats and other removable items, workers triggered the second step in a three-phase "green" demolition and environmental salvage operation. But they had to be mindful of the neighboring Great American Ballpark, under construction.

Before the event, demolition workers protected the new park from projectile dust and debris using a geotextile fabric commonly found in landscaping applications. Manufacturers design the material using 100% polyester fibers that are shaped, needle punched and rolled for delivery.

Steve Pettigrew, implosion manager for D.H. Griffin Wrecking Co., the Franklin, Tenn.-based implosion subcontractor, says the fabric's purpose was twofold. "We used a heavy-gauge material for the curtain wall around Cinergy Field. Then, we used a lighter material around the Great American Ballpark," he says. Pettigrew, who designed the implosion, facilitated the 1�4-mile-long, end-to-end shot with linear shape-charges on the structural steel and nitroglycerin on the concrete members. In all, D.H. Griffin used 2,000 lb of explosives and drilled 2,500 holes into concrete.

Pettigrew and representatives of O'Rourke Wrecking, the local contractor holding the $6-million demolition contract, say the outer lining of lighter-gauge fabric protected glass windows already installed on the new stadium. "It was a clean shot. We didn't break a single window," says Pettigrew.

The final stages of Cinergy Field's conventional demolition will continue until summer, when O'Rourke plans to wrap its salvage of the field and a nearby parking garage. The project includes recovering structural steel, structural concrete and reinforcing steel for recycling. Arnie Rosenberg, project director for program director Parsons Brinckerhoff says, "This is a newer trend. We feel it is a benefit not only to the environment, but also to the community."