By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily
Apparently, it was a good idea. And now, people are taking notice of the strange domes springing up in downtown Cody.
When Ryan Hauck, executive director of the Park County Travel Council, began the constructing the six clear domes outside the Cody Chamber Visitor Center, people noticed.
“The public has reached out to me with interest in how I got them, where I got them, what they can be used for,” Hauck told Cowboy State Daily.
Hauck said since the project started taking shape earlier this year, he’s fielded many calls expressing interest in the domes. The volume of calls increased, he said, after a story about the domes appeared on Cowboy State Daily.
“Anything from dude ranches to guest ranches to event venues,” he said. “I’ve even had people reach out to me in regards to, if these would work well for, like, a yoga studio or something like that on their own land, or maybe they’re trying to do something for the public. But we’ve had interest locally, and now statewide, after Cowboy State Daily posted (the story).”
Since that story was released earlier this month, Hauck said representatives from communities such as Cheyenne and Laramie have contacted him, interested in using the unique structures in their cities.
“Typically, I’ve just been directing them to hypedome.com, because that’s the brand that I got, and that is the style that we went with,” he said.
Facebook comments on the structures reflected mixed reactions, with some readers bemoaning the use of tax dollars to pay for the domes and others expressing great interest in the structures.
“I think these look like fun,” read one comment. “Having food trucks available would entice folks to use these.”
“I think they’re cool,” read another. “It’s so windy almost all the time, which is not conducive for, say, enjoying a book in the sunshine on a pretty day. This was such a great idea!”
The cozy outdoor spaces, which Hauck said were paid for with federal coronavirus relief funds, are intended for use by the public as a place to gather while remaining sheltered from Wyoming’s unpredictable weather.
“Whether it’s locals that want to enjoy the outdoors and stay away from the 60 mile an hour wind, or if visitors just want a fun place where they could stop and read a book or eat a quick lunch before they head into (Yellowstone National Park), it’s an option really for anybody and everybody,” Hauck noted.
He said after the Wyoming Business Council conducted a study that showed a need for improving public spaces in towns such as Cody, the Travel Council began brainstorming ideas that would encourage visitors to stay overnight and enjoy the community’s night life.
“I kind of envisioned, maybe we have a food truck night once a month, or something like that,” Hauck said.
He added there are many other possible uses for the domes.
“For example, at the end of the end of June, we’re going to be hosting a 900-person Harley rally,” he said. “During their site visit they saw those, and they actually mentioned that they would love to use them for their big staff get together (during the rally).”
Hauck added that the unique look of what have been dubbed the “Cody Visitor Center Domes” will encourage social media posts that will promote Cody to potential visitors.
“People are going to be looking for that ‘Instagrammable’ moment,” he said. “I think it’s going to be something that will help draw people in that way.”