Andrew Klusman's Blog

Mitchell Park Domes threatened?

Mitchell Park Domes

Some shocking (to me) news came over the Facebook feed as I learned that the Mitchell Park Domes might need to be entirely reconstructed!

Apparently, the Domes have falling debris that poses a risk to visitors inside, and as such the County has closed the Domes indefinitely, with no word on when they might re-open to the public.  (Why County structures have such a problem with falling debris is beyond me…  don’t they have safety inspectors maintaining these buildings?)

From the JSOnline:

An engineering study of the Mitchell Park Domes has concluded the cost of refurbishing the deteriorating south side landmark could range between $65 million and $75 million, County Executive Chris Abele said Monday.

The beehive-shaped structure at 524 S. Layton Blvd. would have to be entirely reconstructed if officials decided to move ahead with repairs of the conservatory, which has attracted millions of visitors over the years.

Which makes me wonder just what the heck the County has been doing these past few years!  16 years ago, the County’s plan for renovation was listed at $32 million.  Just two years later, the criminal pension scandal saddled on the taxpayers by Tom Ament and Co. would break (damaging County funding for parks, among other things).

Hopefully sane heads in our County prevail, and they find some way to finance and preserve these Milwaukee icons.  If the community can rattle up a couple hundred million for rich businessmen, hopefully we can afford to pay for an iconic image of Milwaukee and our award-winning parks system.

This situation also makes me wonder where our county tax money is going?  Why are these things not being taken care of?  Why is maintenance being deferred so much to the point that we risk losing iconic images of our city?  Is this a result of the American social climate of “What do I get out of it?” just wreaking havoc on publicly-funded institutions?  How could we as a County afford to build those structures back in the ’60s?  Where is the political and social will to keep cultural institutions like this alive?

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