NFL stadium deals don’t always work out well for the residents of the city the team plays in. Rich team owners usually force cities to pony up the lion’s share of the funds for construction and municipalities then have to raise taxes or cut services (or both) to pay for it. Lucas Oil Stadium, home to the Indianpolis Colts, cost $720 million to build, with the team putting up just $100 million of the cost. But a resourceful group in the city has figured out a way to make the most out of the Colts’ old stadium, the RCA Dome.
When the RCA Dome—formerly known as the Hoosier Dome—was set to be torn down in 2008, some citizens inquired to see if there was a future for the dome’s famous teflon-coated fiberglass roof, other than it ending up in a landfill. There wasn’t, and the non-profit group People for Urban Progress (PUP) was formed. PUP took possession of the white fabric and has been using it for a number of purposes, including designing messenger bags and wallets.
PUP’s motto is “goods for good” and the organization has expanded its efforts beyond making products with just the roof. When the Super Bowl came to Indianapolis in 2012, the group collected nearly five miles of fabric and vinyl wrapping to use as raw materials for other projects. Local designers make all the products by hand, and the proceeds help fund community projects such as installing repurposed stadium seats at bus stops and building shade structures for urban farms.
None of this would matter if the bags didn’t look good. Fortunately, that isn’t an issue. They all have a utilitarian design that helps them stand out. The messenger bag, for example, combines the white fabric from the RCA Dome with a banner from the Super Bowl for color and uses a reclaimed seatbelt as the strap.
The items range in price from $12.50 for a card holder to $172 for a weekend bag and are available at peopleup.org.