MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee County Committee on Parks and Culture voted Tuesday to expand their options on preserving the Mitchell Park Domes.
The committee held a hearing and unanimously voted on an amendment proposed by Milwaukee County Supervisor Sheldon Wasserman to expand the scope of possibilities for the city landmark. Wasserman says those options include rebuilding, reimagining, regular maintenance and even demolition of the Mitchell Park Domes.
“We are looking at everything,” Wasserman said. “[We’re looking at] a complete rebuilding of the Domes. We’re also looking at the [re-envisioning] of the Domes into something different. Changing the Domes into a structure that is not preserving it exactly, but preserving majority of it to allow it to be able to become financially independent, so it can make money and raise revenue. We’re also looking at patch and maintenance, what’s that going to cost? And we’re also looking at demolishing — what’s the cost involved in that?”
Cost plays a major role in the final decision. According to Wasserman, there’s currently not enough money being made to properly restore and maintain it.
“One of the largest corporate donations that we have was a donation for $500,” Wasserman says. “The Domes cannot survive on it. The ticket sales for the Domes is stagnant. There is no large number of people going there. People go there once, maybe twice in 20 years.”
So in order to combat the funding issue, Wasserman says a possibility is to take it to Milwaukee County citizens in the form of a vote to see what they think should be done to the conservatory. However, he warns that if citizens want to keep the popular landmark in Mitchell Park, they’d have to be okay with seeing their property taxes raised “significantly.”
“It’s going to cost a lot of money,” Wasserman says. “If you really want something and you support it, you have to pay for it. And that sounds harsh but the reality is we might go to the citizens of Milwaukee County for a referendum to ask the citizens to put their money where their mouth is.”
Without proper funding, Wasserman makes it clear that the 60-year-old Mitchell Park Domes conservatory will not last.
“At this point, doing nothing means demolition by neglect,” Wasserman says. “That’s what’s taking place. Just looking at it, the patient is very sick. The patient will die and a band-aids not going to help. That’s where we’re at today.”
Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors plan to vote on the amendment Dec. 15.
You can check out Tuesday’s resolution below.