Task Force Considers Future of Domes
The options are “overwhelming” and the future far from certain.
Everything is on the table for the task force charged with envisioning the future of the Mitchell Park Domes.
The Domes Task Force, created by the Milwaukee County Board, saw a presentation Tuesday night from an economic and management consultancy that set up the process by which the future of the domes will be determined.
The task force has yet to get into the weeds of any potential plan for the domes. But they have a general layout of the process they will undergo. The first step for the task force is creating a vision for the future of the domes.
Robert Brais, vice president of of ConsultEcon, Inc., laid out three broadly defined paths forward Tuesday night. They boiled down to (1)improving the current performance of the domes; (2)pursuing aspirational goals for them; or (3)exploring a new use altogether for the domes and the site.
But before that, the task force will hold a work session to tailor a vision for the domes and build scenarios around that vision.
“It sounds overwhelming, but everything should be on the table,” said John Gurda, a member of the task force and longtime Milwaukee historian.
The options for the path forward are many indeed. Even for one possible scenario, like focusing on improving the current performance of the domes, the task force could work to enhance the existing operations through reorganizing governance or a partnership with another institution. Or it could apply targeted investments in greenhouses or energy efficiency or better integration of STEM into the exhibits. Or it could work on a combination of several of those options.
And those are just some examples from one possible path. The task force could also look at aspirational goals for the domes, making them a destination conservatory through upgraded “world class” exhibits and new programming, and other changes. This approach could also include a partnership with an organization, like a university or a corporation.
Or they could look at demolishing the domes and using the site for a new purpose, or repurposing the domes themselves. Or they could work on an approach that uses ideas from all of these paths.
In short, the future for the domes is entirely uncertain at this point, due to the many possible approaches the task force could take. But one thing is certain. The issue of the domes is not divorced from the county budget process, or its politics.
Whatever the task force brings to the board will be weighed against what it will do to the immediate county budget, and what it will do to future budgets, said area County Supervisor Jason Haas, a task force member. Saving or losing the domes will require investment by the county, and the task force will have to weigh that when choosing what to present to the county board and county administration.
Haas said he’s hoping the task force can come up with a “grand vision” for the domes. Because, “without a really good solid exciting vision… It’d be very difficult to sell keeping the domes open as they are.”
More about the Future of The Domes
- Task Force Considers Future of Domes - Graham Kilmer - Dec 14th, 2017
- 13 Short Facts About The Domes - Virginia Small - Dec 2nd, 2016
- Op-Ed: The Demoting of the Domes - Virginia Small - Nov 26th, 2016
- In Public: No, the Domes Aren’t Great Architecture - Tom Bamberger - May 4th, 2016
- Duel Over the Domes - Virginia Small - Mar 16th, 2016
- 10 Reasons To Save The Domes - Virginia Small - Feb 24th, 2016