It’s back for its second season. Gaze North across the valley, and you’ll notice it; it’s the giant white marshmallow-like structure near the college.

We call it the Air Supported Dome — it’s an accurate if not particularly catchy name. And from my perspective, it’s hard to imagine the community getting better bang for our local dollar in seeing it realized.

I bring up the ‘bang for buck’ because I occasionally catch grumbling about how we the citizens voted down the ‘community bowl’ concept. And indeed we did. If your Minot memory reaches back to 2008 — you may remember the conversation. At that time, the message was clear — the citizens said ‘no’ to a sales tax diversion that would have funded $9 million of the $11 million project.

Other iterations later, including another ‘no’ on the Park District’s much bigger ($87 million big) ‘MARC’ concept, and finally, a plan that was palatable took shape. In the end, it was a million dollars of Council-approved public money, a match (plus more) of private money and a maintenance and operation agreement with MSU that delivered the Air Supported Dome to Minot.

I bring up the political past because I’ve noticed a tendency toward negativity in Minot. For those that opposed the dome, they see its construction as a betrayal and a failure. But there’s another way to look at it — and that’s in the value of saying ‘no.’

The Air Supported Dome we got was not the same as the projects we considered in the past. And in the end, saying no forced leadership to deliver a community need with a more efficient, conservative plan and a smaller contribution from the public. What’s not to like about that?

And now that we have it, it’s hard to argue against the impact. Last March I got a call from a Fargo friend who was coming to Minot for the first time in ten years! The reason: a youth soccer tournament that brought more than 80 teams to Minot for a weekend. Finally, there was a youth-sports weekend that saw Minot parents enjoy the comfort of their own bed while the rest of the region came to us. Too often in all our sports, most roads lead away from Minot.

So, if you haven’t found your way inside Minot’s new dome, make it a point. And if you’re in the camp that feels betrayed — be open to having your mind change. It’s a remarkable space and an outstanding achievement for a small place like Minot.

There’s just one thing — the name, the Air Supported Dome — it needs work. We need a name that evokes of a sense of warmth in winter; we need a name that represents a reprieve from the harsh wind and cold; we need a name that speaks to both purpose and our place on the prairie. Instead of the Air Supported Dome, let’s call it The Igloo.

Minot built an air-supported igloo and fields of teams came last March.

                

Comments

  1. Morgan Evans

    So…… Are you guys (the city) going to make an indoor park for small kids to enjoy? Kids like to play year round, not just when it’s nice outside. We need an indoor park. If getting kids to be active is important we need one,or three. I mean you have to understand that it’s cold here for a lot of the year. Minot park district has more than enough money to get this going. They sure have enough to redo the zoo,which was unnecessary, and to put this thing into effect. Why not indoor parks that are free. There’s nothing like that up here.

    1. Josh Wolsky Post author

      Hi Morgan!
      It’s important to note — I’m not ‘the City’. I’m one vote on a 7-member City Council. It’s also important to note that an indoor park like you’re talking about is really more the domain of the Park District. That’s a separate political subdivision with a separate governing board — the Park Board — and budget.

      That said, the Park District did offer up a plan for just such an indoor facility as you describe, the vote was in 2015. It was voted on by the citizens, and it failed by a 2-1 margin. This facility came about — in part (I would guess) — as a reaction to that much grander plan that didn’t succeed. We — as a community — got some of the same benefits, but without the same cost and operational responsibilities. Perfect? Certainly not. But I think we got was a good deal for citizens and taxpayers.
      Just my thoughts, thanks for your comment!
      Josh Wolsky

Josh Wolsky, Writer & Developer, The Minot Voice

Josh Wolsky is a Minot native and developer of the Minot Voice. He is also actively involved the Friends of the Souris River and all efforts to #MakeMinot. He also had the recent misfortune of being elected to Minot's City Council.