New $22 Million Fieldhouse For Sports Complex Near Minneapolis
Bob Klatt has seen it all at Bielenberg Sports Center.
The parks and recreation director is in his 30th year with the city of Woodbury. In 1995 Klatt watched as the famous Bielenberg “bubble” — the first municipal sports-centric dome in the metro area — was inflated for the first time. Last year he saw it go down to make way for a new 90,000-square-foot field house, arguably the grandest improvement in Bielenberg’s nearly two-year, $22 million makeover.
Other upgrades include a drastic renovation to Bielenberg’s main lobby, the addition of a large outdoor pleasure skating rink, enhancements to the two indoor ice rinks and a new 15,000-square-foot, handicapped-accessible playground and splash pad.
“We consider Bielenberg the crown jewel of the parks and rec department,” Klatt said. “We hope the residents are proud of it.”
Nineteen years ago, Klatt knew the dome at Bielenberg — named for Woodbury’s first mayor, Orville Bielenberg — wouldn’t last forever. The bubble’s expected lifespan was 15 to 20 years. Klatt believed if the dome was successful, a permanent structure would eventually replace it.
During that time Woodbury was among the fastest-growing cities in Minnesota, its population doubling to an estimated 63,000 people.
“That’s what we could afford at the time as a city,” Klatt said. “We built what we could, and it’s served the community well. We’re very fortunate to now have such a nice facility that’ll be here for the next 50 years. We’re really excited.”