RCA Dome and Philanthropy

Dome roof finds new life

January 26, 2009
The salvage operation surrounding the old RCA Dome's fabric roof has taken on a life of its own.

Mary Ann O'Malley and Michael Bricker, who collaborated with Sabre Demolition and four other local organizations to make sure the 13-acre roof didn't end up in a landfill, started a not-for-profit to pursue similarly progressive projects after it became clear the roof salvage would work.

People for Urban Progress was born Nov. 22. O'Malley's inspiration to begin a not-for-profit originally came from her desire to initiate an Indianapolis car-share program. The group's mission is to "advance and enhance" urban life by supporting public transit, environmental awareness and good urban design.

The Teflon-coated dome material that O'Malley and Bricker helped save is going to a variety of uses, including Dome Bags, a line of purses and wallets.

Proceeds from the sales of Dome Bags, which became available Jan. 22, will first compensate O'Malley and Bricker for their $10,000 investment in the project. Sales above that amount will go toward other dome reuse projects. Prices for the bags, sold exclusively at Sakura Urban on Massachusetts Avenue, range from $40 for a wallet to $250 for a messenger bag.

The remaining roof material was divided between the IndyParks Foundation, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority and the Arts Council of Indianapolis.

It's not clear yet how all the material will be used. The Arts Council is assisting KIB in organizing a competition for artists interested in using the material.
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