Edina hopes for new dome by November

  • Article by: MARY JANE SMETANKA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 5, 2013 - 11:18 AM

Since the Braemar fire a year ago, the city has spent time wrangling with insurance and building code issues.

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The Braemar Golf Dome in Edina was deflated after a fire last February. The city hopes to have a replacement built by November.

Photo: Marisa Wojcik, Special to the Star Tribune

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When the Braemar Golf Dome in Edina burned down a year ago, hopeful city officials thought they'd have a replacement erected by last fall.

Now, it looks like golfers will have to wait until November to have a new indoor practice site.

"Working with the insurance company on the financial settlement has been the main reason for the delay in the project," said Ann Kattreh, director of Edina parks and recreation. "We also ran into some watershed issues. ... Once we had all of those things resolved, we're waiting for our insurance company."

The golf dome, built in 1983 and owned by the city since 1988, collapsed on Feb. 10 of last year after a lighting fixture malfunctioned and burned the fabric of the inflated building. The 40,000-square-foot dome had artificial turf and was used by lacrosse and soccer players as well as golfers.

Building a new dome has proven to be more costly than expected. Kattreh said new water mains are needed for a new dome to meet fire suppression codes. And watershed district requirements to hold drainage on-site mean that a water retention pond will have to be built under the parking lot.

Meeting that requirement alone will cost more than $400,000, Kattreh said. The estimated total cost for replacing the dome, including the water project, is about $3.2 million.

The city anticipates an eventual insurance settlement of about $2 million. So far, Travelers Insurance Co. has paid the city about $716,000 from property insurance and business interruption coverage.

Kattreh said the city is still negotiating with Travelers over a final settlement and hasn't made any decisions about how to fill the funding gap to build a new dome.

"We have more negotiating to do with the insurance company," she said. "We hope ... to be able to maximize our coverage."

She said the only real areas of disagreement between the city and the insurance company are coverage for the watershed issue and the city's desire to build a steel rather than wood driving deck. The deck provides two levels for golfers to practice their swings. Kattreh said the city prefers a steel deck because it would last longer and would be fire resistant.

Assuming all goes as planned, construction on a new dome would start in early April with the goal of opening by Nov. 1 at the latest, she said.

Any new dome would be inflatable and would use the existing concrete footings, she said. The dome and its adjoining clubhouse -- with restrooms, a small pro shop, vending area and a ticket desk -- would be separated by a covered walkway.

The separation is to protect the smaller building from excessive force during high winds and storms, Kattreh said. The old dome and clubhouse shared a wall, and when the dome collapsed, it pulled at the wooden wall of the clubhouse, disconnecting water and gas pipes.

The city is already seeking bids for new artificial turf and dome fabric. More detailed plans are waiting until the insurance claim is settled, Kattreh said. The City Council will have to give the approval before construction proceeds.

Mary Jane Smetanka • 612-673-7380 Twitter: @smetan

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