Blog: Dome Stories

Location, location, location – and amenities

It’s no wonder the city of Plymouth, MN, has been nationally ranked as one of the best places to live. For one thing, the city offers its residents a recreational smorgasbord. There are indoor and outdoor ice rinks, ball fields, parks, trails, lakes and a domed fieldhouse that provides year-round use. “Year-round” is key in a climate where January’s average temperature is 13 degrees F.

Aerial view inside a community sports complex air dome

Back when the city’s dome first went up in the 1990s, it was funded through a referendum that created a permanent Community Center and a seasonal fieldhouse.  Since then, the Plymouth fieldhouse has built up its user audience – and enough revenue – to support 100% of its operations. More importantly, there’s been enough profit over the years to make upgrades to the dome in 2017. All without a single additional nickel from taxpayers.

Hard-working dome pays for itself

Goal inside an inflatable air dome

“This dome needs to be self-sufficient. The City of Plymouth has created a successful model where no tax dollars are needed to operate the dome on an annual basis,” said Chris Fleck, manager of the Plymouth Creek Center.

The 2017 upgrade included LED lights that will boost the dome’s energy efficiency. Plus the city opted for a soft grey color on the dome. “It blends in a little more aesthetically,” Fleck said.

The dome is a model of versatility, hosting a number of different activities and events. “We run Parks and Rec programs out of it, there are adult pickup leagues, athletic departments and associations use it. We’ve even used it for Home & Garden Expos,” Fleck said.

Good traffic flow

Walkers inside an inflatable dome

Fleck estimates the number of dome users is approximately 150,000 people in a five-month period of time. In a city with a population of just over 70,000, that’s akin to each resident visiting the dome more than two times during that period.

“It’s a nice recreational amenity to keep people busy during the winter months,” he said. “It’s a good way to encourage health and wellness.”