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Tonawanda still hopes golf dome will reopen this month

Work to overhaul the Paddock Chevrolet Golf Dome in Tonawanda is running behind schedule but town officials say the dome should reopen before Thanksgiving – if the weather over the next few weeks isn't a turkey.

Crews deflated the dome in June as part of an estimated $2.5 million reconstruction of the landmark visible to tens of thousands of motorists who pass it on the I-290 each day. The project includes replacing the fabric covering and support beams, the driving range's artificial turf and other work.

The town had hoped to reinflate the new dome last month, and reopen the facility sometime this month, but wet and windy weather has delayed the work, said Mark Campanella Sr., the town's superintendent of Youth, Parks and Recreation.

"We're at the mercy of the weather," Campanella said.

The dome on Brompton Road in Brighton Park opened in 1999 and features an indoor driving range, 18-hole miniature golf course, restaurant and golf simulator. The original fabric roof was replaced after it was damaged beyond repair by high winds during a February 2002 ice storm.

Town employees and an outside consultant recently determined the nearly 17-year-old fabric roof again needed replacing.

New inflatable roof part of $2 million overhaul at Tonawanda golf dome

The old roof came down in June and was removed to make way for the new covering. Campanella said crews were ready to raise the new roof and put in place the support cables and beams last week but ran into poor weather. Workers have to pump water off the fabric after heavy rains, for example, he said.

He said he hopes this can take place by the end of the week, with crews beginning interior work soon after. The main work inside the structure requires ripping out the old artificial turf and installing the new turf.

Campanella said the dome typically opens in October but doesn't get busy until after Jan. 1. The restaurant and golf simulator have remained open throughout the construction period.

The outdoor driving range still is open, weather permitting. The Brighton Golf Club closes Tuesday and the town's other course, Sheridan Park Golf Club, will remain open until it gets too cold and miserable for even die-hard golfers to play.

Campanella said he doesn't yet have a final cost for the dome overhaul.

The Tonawanda Town Board in January voted to borrow $2.5 million to pay for the dome renovations. The project was estimated to cost $2 million with the rest meant for overruns. The board in August voted to borrow another $500,000 toward the project.

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