WSP renews management contract for sports dome

Believe it or not, it’s been more than a year since West St. Paul’s sports dome assumed its dominant position in the city’s skyline.

As an indirect reminder of the Regional Athletic Center’s anniversary, the West St. Paul City Council voted in its Nov. 25 meeting to keep the dome’s current management company in place through at least one more year.

Sports Facility Development and Management Services handles all marketing, scheduling and day-to-day operations at the dome and has been deeply involved with the project since the design phase. The new contract includes a $2,000 per month stipend from the city to assist with operational expenses and a 10 percent commission for the company for monthly revenues exceeding $30,000 from May to October, which is considered the off-season for dome use.

The contract also requires the company to hold stakeholder meetings with city staff and the top five organizations that use the dome through the prime months. The move is intended to improve communication and customer satisfaction for dome users going forward.

“I’m going to hope very much that user-friendliness improves over last year,” Council member Dave Wright said at the meeting. “It’s a big issue to me, and I’m going to watch it like a hawk.”

While the city’s relationship has remained stable with SFDMS through the first year, the company has struggled elsewhere.  Last year, SFDMS lost its management contract for the troubled Vadnais Sports Center and the City of Vadnais Heights filed a lawsuit against company-owner Mark Bigelbach for rights to the facility’s website, while Bigelbach in turn sued the city for breach of contract and defamation. The city eventually defaulted on its sport center bonds and the facility was sold at auction for about half the cost of construction.

The West St. Paul City Council approved the new contract with SFDMS unanimously.

— Luke Reiter

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