Film Explores Domed City that Almost Came to Be in Aitkin County
SWATARA -- The idea of creating a brand new city of 250,000 people from the ground up seems a bit far-fetched, but a new documentary explores how that idea actually almost came to be a reality back in the 1960s. "The Experimental City" is a film about this futuristic plan to build a town powered by clean energy under a dome on 55,000 acres of land in Aitkin County.
Director Chad Freidrichs says the city's price tag was estimated at $10 billion in 1967.
It was this sprawling project where they were looking to build this city of 250,000 people using the newest and best technology of the 1960s to eliminate pollution and solve the problems that were plaguing American cities throughout the country.
Freidrichs says backers convinced the Minnesota State Legislature to establish a state agency to find a location for this new city. They settled on 55,000 acres near the town of Swatara.
Freidrichs says, as you can imagine, it was very controversial for the residents of the town of Swatara where this new city was planned to be built.
There were people in Swatara who were actually for it and they felt that this was going to be an economic advantage to the area. At that time Atikin county was one of the poorer counties in the state, so that's one of the reasons why the planners for the experimental city anticipated there would be at least some support for it in that community.
However, Friedrichs says other residents had no interest in living in a town of 250,000 instead of the quiet life of northern Minnesota.
The experimental city eventually lost state support in 1973, effectively killing the project.
The documentary "The Experimental City" debuts in the Twin Cities on Friday, March 16th and then will be shown in various cities around Minnesota in April.