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More than three years after Sauk Centre shut down a small museum devoted to its Nobel Prize-winning author, the Sinclair Lewis Interpretive Center site is still looking for a buyer.

The city closed the center in 2016, saying that the 4-acre site near Interstate 94 would be of greater benefit if it were commercially developed and generating tax revenue.

Sinclair Lewis gained fame in the 1920s and ’30s with milestone works such as “Main Street,” “Babbitt” and “Elmer Gantry,” satirizing the hypo­crisy of middle America.

Born and raised in Sauk Centre, Lewis in 1930 became the first American author to be awarded the Nobel Prize in literature.

The end of the interpretive center, which opened in 1975, reflects both the financial pressures faced by small towns across America and a sense that perhaps Lewis has lost some relevance nearly a century after his literary peak.

“We’ve got some people kicking tires on it, but nothing solid,” said George Janssen, a commercial real estate broker who has the listing on the site.

“The growth that’s going to happen in Sauk Centre is going to be out there by the interstate.”

JOHN REINAN

Mankato

Inflatable sports dome open for play

As winter winds blow, a new multimillion-dollar, inflatable sports dome at Minnesota State University, Mankato, is up and ready for those on campus and in the community looking for a more balmy place to play and compete.

The 110,000-square-foot dome was inflated in November. An open house planned for earlier this month was tentatively scheduled to be the facility’s grand opening event.

Instead, collegiate women soccer players were the first athletes to take to the dome’s field after a blast of snow and cold threatened an outdoor NCAA tournament on campus.

“We just happened to have a large enough [indoor] regulation-size field that was approved just two days before the game,” said Dan Benson, a university spokesman.

The $5.5 million dome is the size of 1 ½ soccer fields and can be divided into three playing surfaces, each 70 by 44 yards, that can be used simultaneously for a variety of sports, including soccer, lacrosse, rugby, cricket, ultimate Frisbee, softball, baseball and football.

It will be inflated each year from Nov. 1 to May 1.

Benson said the dome “allows students to have greater access to recreation activities all winter long as well as for intercollegiate sports teams and local community sports programs.”

Mary Lynn Smith