The Indianapolis Department of Parks and Recreation imagines a future where pieces of the RCA Dome roof are sprinkled throughout the city as everything from picnic shelters to shades for pool lifeguards.
Director Stuart Lowry said the district hopes to salvage as much of the seven-plus acres of roof as can be taken down safely and stored. Then the plastic fabric can be recycled as needed.
"We have a lot of areas we can use this for," Lowry said.
Yesterday, air was let out of the dome, allowing the roof to settle nearly to the floor. The home of the Indianapolis Colts was replaced in August by nearby Lucas Oil Stadium and will be demolished to make way for an expansion of the Indiana Convention Center.
The recycling idea came to Lowry and deputy director Don Colvin, a park planner, as they looked at the dome from atop the City-County Building.
The material, which lets some light pass through, is stitched together in pieces, some of which are more than 200 feet long. The roof has experienced little wear since it was assembled in 1984.
"The dome has seen it all for a long time," Lowry said. "It's in as good a shape today as the day they put it on."
Veolia Water, which manages Indianapolis Water Co., will haul away the fabric for no cost to the city, Lowry said. The department is in discussions with Eli Lilly and Co. and other companies to provide storage.
The department also hopes businesses will help find ways to build frames that would enable installing the material at parks - also for free or at a low cost.