Dome disaster has far-reaching impact

Thursday, December 23, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS -- More than a week after the Metrodome first deflated, the disaster is continuing to wreak havoc on plans of both teams and organizations in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

Besides the Vikings football team, the dome hosts up to 300 events annually. While crews continue to try and repair the dome's damaged roof, dozens of local organizations are scrambling to reschedule their events.

"My first reaction was, 'are they going to fix it in time for Monday Night Football?' And then my second reaction was, 'we have an event four days later, are we going to have it done in time for that," said Daniel Rodich with the Minneapolis Jewish Federation.

On Dec. 24, the Federation had planned to hold its annual Tzedakah Bowl football tournament at the dome. Since the mid-December snowstorm and resulting chaos, the organization has shifted to Plan "B" -- they'll be holding the event at the Plymouth Fieldhouse.

"It's not as exciting as playing at the Metrodome, but it's still a field where we can all get together and play football and raise some money for our events," Rodich said.

Other events haven't been as lucky.

Tong Pao Yang, President of the Hmong American New Year celebration in Minnesota, said his organization was forced to cancel the event on Jan. 1-2. Instead, they're hoping to find a new venue and hold the celebration in late January or early February.

The canceled events serve as further proof of the far-reaching impact of the dome disaster. On Wednesday, officials said they'd reached a new "safety" standard for workers inside the dome. This, after they successfully patched and melted snow off the dome roof and allowed it to flow into drains near the field.

Officials confirm five panels are now down at the dome: Three from the original event on Dec. 12, one from a few days later on the 15th and a third on Monday -- when someone intentionally shot a slug into the sagging roof to relieve built-up ice and snow.

Officials believe the fix could take at least a month. At this point, they continue to evaluate every section of the roof to confirm there are no additional weak sections. At the same time, material for new panels is being fabricated in Tijuana, Mexico.

"We want to be as transparent as possible, and we'll conduct this in a full and professional way," said Bill Lester with the Metro Sports Facilities Commission.


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