The Blaine City Council is laying the groundwork for a new sports dome on the campus of the National Sports Center.
The amateur sports campus, touted as the largest in the world, is interested in building an inflatable dome to house indoor turf sports, including soccer, lacrosse, baseball, softball and golf.
Blaine officials voted last week to change the city's code to allow for a building taller than 50 feet with a fabric dome roof, a key step to make way for the project.
But precisely how tall the dome will be remains undecided. The Sports Center has expressed interest in making the dome 110 feet, which officials say would make it the largest of its kind in North America and help accommodate sports like baseball and softball.
If approved at that height, it would also be one of the tallest structures in town.
"We absolutely want to build a dome at the right height," said Barclay Kruse, spokesman for the Sports Center. "A taller dome is open to more users, and that's a benefit to the community."
City staffers have pushed for scaling the height back to 75 feet, saying the dome would feel out of place because of the open nature of the site.
Now sports officials are fine-tuning their proposal — including the exact height, location and design of the dome — and expect to bring it before City Council for consideration this fall, Kruse said.
"We're crunching numbers and looking at feasibility," he said.
The dome project is part of the center's recently completed campus master plan as the sports complex looks to the future. Sports officials say more indoor turf space, especially in the winter, is a key need.
"There's public demand for it," Kruse said. "We want to service that demand."
If approved, construction could begin in spring 2019.