Dinkydome: Two Men Enter, One Man Leaves

The rain is falling slowly onto the slick of University Avenue. Nobody seems really prepared for the rain: A couple of umbrellas float over the crosswalks, but many are power-walking or running as if from gunfire to get out of the frigid, autumnal drizzle. It seems quite miserable out there. Inside, the story is quite different. I lay back in an armchair in Espresso 22. I feel warm enough to take my sweater off, and as I do, the soulful swooning of jazz hits my ear. The smell of coffee and tea wafts to me. I get up to look into the Dinkydome commons. Among the sea of square, red tables sits one student with his books. ItâÄôs so calm in here. That same calm can be deceiving sometimes. The lot behind the Dinkydome has been bought up by Kelly Doran, a land mogul and attempted politician, and he will soon start construction on what is going to be a large student apartment complex. Most everyone at the University knows this. But everyone is beginning to wonder about the fate of the Dinkydome, since Doran bought this as well. I talked to a manager of Doran Construction at the Dome and learned the general state of affairs. All around the building, renovations are being made. A constant construction is being undertaken to fix some the more stately problems of the Dinkydome. The electrical pileup of years past is being sorted and cut and corrected. The roof is being redone to combat the leaks dripping onto the floors throughout the building. And whatâÄôs more is that the glass dome, much of it cracked and some only held together by tape, is being replaced. This update of the building, all signs point to good. I then asked the manager about the DinkydomeâÄôs future. He told me, âÄúAs far as I know, itâÄôs staying.âÄù It does seem unlikely that the Dinkydome would be demolished. It is a landmark, a notion of the local life, and a beauty amongst the Caribou Coffees and McDonalds. But what of the businesses inside? Walk around the commons and note the fresh wall covering the grave of Taco JohnâÄôs; it was just put up some weeks ago. You follow the wall until you hit a door. Inside is a room in the process of being redone, repainted, re-everything. It looks quite slick. A few deep fryers still sit in one corner, but they will be moved out soon. A man inside standing by a stack of bent metal rods suggests that this space might be rented out in the future. The entire back wall will at some point be knocked down to construct a passageway joining the Dinkydome and the new apartment complex. If you walk around the commons, youâÄôll see some tiles torn up on the floor in front of Espresso 22, and if you ask around, youâÄôll learn that a light bulb in the side doors hasnâÄôt been replaced for weeks. A few weeks ago, the smell of fresh paint from the fresh wall lingered in the commons during a busy part of the day. Today, a back door has been left open, ushering in the cold air into this contentedly-warm dome. One has to wonder about why Doran doesnâÄôt just replace those tiles, or change that light bulb. Do they really care about the businesses inside the Dinkydome? âÄúUnfortunately, some of these people are going to be displaced,âÄù Doran said in an article for the Daily one week ago. âÄúThatâÄôs just the way the world works sometimes.âÄù Is that is what is going to happen? Will these small businesses be displaced in order for another Chipotle or BK to move in? I hope not, I really hope not. The Dinkydome and its small businesses allow the University a personality; and, without their presence, IâÄôm afraid we become a nothing. A big nothing, with maybe a little more money. Do we want that? Matt Grimley welcomes comments at [email protected]