Rebuild The Domes
Joint city-county-state effort should rebuild domes and maximize its tourism potential.
The Mitchell Park Three Domes Conservatory is a jewel of our Milwaukee parks and tourism system. Attendance has been up in recent years, aided by a highly successful winter farmers market and creative community events. In the days of higher population and stronger government budgets in the City of Milwaukee, the number of Domes visitors was two or three times greater than today.
Having said that, today’s annual visits of about 250,000 can and should be able to double over the next ten years with new infrastructure and services. It seems likely that the nearly 60 year old glass and steel is in need of total replacement.
With proper planning and a financing package that includes public resources and private sector support, my hope is that Milwaukee builds a destination that will draw people from every corner of the state as well as tourists from outside our borders.
A Rebuilding Plan Should Include:
- All Three Domes rebuilt on-site at Mitchell Park
- At least one Dome that is substantially larger in size to allow more opportunity for special events
- More physical space for tourists, visiting students, and someone wanting to enjoy their coffee and newspaper would greatly add to the experience of the Domes
- Improved parking and transit access
Importantly, this project should build on nearby success stories:
- Miller Park Stadium
- Menomonee Valley and the Hank Aaron State Trail
- Three Bridges Park
- Potawatomi Hotel and Casino
- The 5th Ward and Walker’s Point which has seen fast paced growth
The City of Milwaukee, county government, state government and the private sector should develop a tax increment financing (TIF) project that helps pay for the re-construction and directly connects the Domes location to a neighborhood-based economic revitalization effort (between S. 20th and 38th and from W. Pierce-W. Greenfield).
There is no question that the Domes is a regional and statewide attraction and contributes significantly to the adjacent neighborhoods. Given that the City has invested several hundred million dollars for the Bucks arena, the downtown streetcar, Northwestern Mutual Life expansion, the Pabst Brewery complex and Grand Avenue Mall, investing TIF dollars on Milwaukee’s near South Side is worth serious consideration as the community makes plans for the Three Domes.
Josh Zepnick D-Milwaukee, represents District 9 in the Wisconsin Assembly.