Edina looks at two homes for its domes

The two projects will not fit on the Braemar Park site.

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The Braemar Golf Dome in Edina completely deflated Friday, February 10, 2012 due to a fire.

Photo: Marisa Wojcik, Star Tribune

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Plans to build two adjacent sports domes in Edina's Braemar Park are fading in the face of financial and logistical obstacles.

Instead, on Tuesday, the City Council will be asked to proceed with replacement of the Braemar Golf Dome that burned in February while other locations are studied for a proposed sports dome that has strong support from youth sports groups.

Ann Kattreh, the city's assistant parks and recreation director, said an evaluation of the Braemar location as a site for both domes showed it just wouldn't work. Officials had hoped that a dome complex with one clubhouse and entry would save energy and management costs.

"The site just isn't large enough; that's the main reason," Kattreh said. "There are some other issues with the site, which in its previous life was a gun range and sort of a waste dump site."

Lead in the soil would require environmental cleanup, and the valley-like site would need retaining walls and a significant amount of fill to stabilize the soil. The city's public works department has a cold-storage building nearby that would need to be removed and relocated, creating additional expense.

Both domes appear likely to be built anyway.

"It was an interesting concept to potentially co-locate the domes, but not doing that doesn't affect the future of the domes," Kattreh said.

Savage and West St. Paul have both been in the news in recent months for approving sports domes of their own; West St. Paul passed a plan for a $7 million dome next to city hall last week, hoping it will be an economic development magnet. Savage is building its own dome for a different reason, saying local youth sports groups are clamoring for a new venue that doesn't require a long drive.

Edina's Golf Dome burned and collapsed on Feb. 10, and almost immediately patrons were calling to ask when it would be replaced. At a recent City Council meeting, City Manager Scott Neal told council members that the city had received about $668,000 in an initial insurance payment. City officials have said that eventually they expect to receive more than $1 million in insurance for the building.

"I think we can site [a new golf dome] at the same site for pretty much the same price as the insurance we're getting," Neal said at the meeting.

Rebuilding the Golf Dome on its old site means the city could save money by using the existing concrete foundation. Ideally, a replacement dome will be erected by November, Neal said.

Kattreh said that given all the steps the project has to go through, including a public bidding process, she doesn't know how soon construction could start and a new dome could open. "There's a lot of work to be completed," she said.

The city's Golf Dome was open year-round. The proposed sports dome would be used from about October through April, when the dome would be deflated and its artificial turf could be used for summer sports.

Edina's youth sports groups have been pushing for a sports dome for a decade, saying that the city has fallen behind its peers in offering a year-round venue for soccer, baseball, lacrosse and other sports. On Tuesday, the council will be asked to reconvene its sports dome work group to consider other sites for that facility.

Mary Jane Smetanka • 612-673-7380

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