WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) -- The geodesic dome in Warwick is unlike any other structure in Rhode Island. It's pretty hard to miss when you're driving near T.F. Green Airport. But there's a chance you might not see it for much longer. The airport says the dome's future is questionable.
Standing forty feet high, the dome and airport have been linked for more than half a century -- long before the renovation of the Bruce Sundlun Terminal and a boom in commercial aviation here.
"The dome could be a landmark for people wanting to travel down Airport Road," the interim president of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, Peter Frazier, said Friday. "However, you still have to look at it in terms of the value of the 5.44 acres underneath it."
That property may be more valuable without the dome, he said.
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation owns the property, but RIAC has a lease on the property through 2038.
Originally used to house airport maintenance vehicles and equipment, with a low one-story building attached, the dome has sat empty for a few years now. Underneath, the effect is like a picnic shelter or pavilion in the off-season, with the tables removed to storage.
"We hate to see properties sitting fallow. We'd like to see it used productively," said Frazier.
The airport corporation recently sent out a request for proposal in the hopes of finding a new use for the property.
But, Frazier says they'll take a broker's advice on what to do with the dome.
"It's probably more practical if it gets torn down," Frazier said. "People have not approached us for semi-enclosed storage for large vehicles."
While the future of the historic dome may be bleak, Frazier believes the property could provide a positive strong economic impact for the area with the help of an aviation planner: "I could realistically see some sort of commercial enterprise [there], a drugstore, [or] a fast food chain."
The goal is to have a finalized plan for the property by spring.
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