Survey Seeks Opinions on Domes’ Future
County asks citizens to complete online survey with nine options for Mitchell Park Domes.
Milwaukee County administrators want to know what you think about the future of the Mitchell Park Conservatory, known as the Domes. They have posted an online survey that offers nine options, from repair to removal without replacement.
The survey was designed by planners at GRAEF-USA, as part of a $30,000 consulting contract for “community engagement” that was commissioned by County Executive Chris Abele’s staff in March.
The survey notes that “The work in progress in the Domes provides only safety measures to protect visitors and staff; it does not address repairs and updates needed by a 50+ year old facility. Given the potential large costs of repairs as well as the opportunity to re-imagine the future, the County Executive and the County Board believe that it is important to ask the Milwaukee County community, ‘What should happen next?’ All feedback will be weighed by the Advisory Committee that has been tapped to listen to the community and to recommend a future direction and long-term plan.”
Of nine options presented, six involve demolishing the Domes with or without replacement. Others include removing all the plants and using one or more of the Domes for other purposes. There is no deadline listed for completing the survey.
The Survey’s Questions
What uses should we be planning for: a conservatory containing most or all of the current Dome’s plant collection, new uses, or a combination of uses?
What structure(s) should we [be] considering: the current Domes structures, a new structure or structures, or some combination?
What other ideas does the community have for the future?
REPAIR ALL 3 DOMES STRUCTURES
R1 with Current Use as a Horticultural Conservatory
Repair all three Domes in their current locations and continue all ongoing horticultural and educational activities.
The character of each Dome would be preserved with the continued scheduling of regular, special, and private events.
R2 with New Uses
Repair all three Domes in their current locations and use the structures for new purposes. The Domes would be used as a different indoor, recreational space managed by Milwaukee County Parks, while the greenhouses would continue horticulture operations to support the Boerner Botanical Gardens.
R3 with Your Input
Offer your ideas about rebuilding!
RENEW & BUILD NEW
B1 New Domes On Site with Current & Expanded Uses
The three Domes at the Conservatory would be demolished, while the Annex and greenhouses would remain. New domes would be constructed in their place with restored connections to the Annex and greenhouses for continued horticultural and educational activities, events, and other complementary uses.
B2 New Conservatory at Mitchell Park with Current & Expanded Uses
The three Domes would be demolished. A new conservatory would be built in Mitchell Park for horticultural, research and educational facilities. The Annex and greenhouses could continue to operate during demolition.
B3 New Conservatory at Other Location with Current & Expanded Uses
The three Domes would be demolished. Related activities would cease at Mitchell Park, but horticultural operations would continue in the greenhouses and Annex to support Boerner Botanical Garden. The conservatory and related activities would be moved to another location in the county.
B4 New Conservatory with Your Input
Offer your ideas about building something new!
REMOVE & REINVEST
O1 Remove & Reinvest in Another Asset with Current & Expanded Uses
The three Domes would be demolished and related activities would cease at Mitchell Park. Horticultural operations would continue in the greenhouses to support the Boerner Botanical Garden in Hales Corners. The money that would be used to rebuild or relocate the Domes would be invested in an existing or new County community asset.
O2 Remove with Your Input
Offer your ideas about another idea!
O3 Partial Removal & Partial New Facility with Current & Expanded Uses
1-2 Domes would be restored. The Domes could be used for horticultural purposes or as a different indoor, recreational space managed by Milwaukee County Parks. A facility would be built alongside the existing greenhouses and Annex to expand programming opportunities.
O4 Partial Removal & Partial New Facility with Your Input
Offer your ideas about another partial removal and partial new option!
Other Events Planned
According to the Domes Update information, various events will also be planned to solicit more input from the general public or selected groups.
A Conservatory Advisory Committee appointed by Abele will select two or more options to pursue more fully, the page notes. Members of his committee have not yet been named. The County Board has also authorized “the creation of a task force to develop a comprehensive long-term plan for the Domes.” Precisely how these two committees will work together has yet to be determined.
Meanwhile, GRAEF is installing netting in all three Domes as a safety measure in response to flaking of concrete covering the steel structural frameworks. GRAEF is also developing updated estimates for restoration and repair options.