4 Questions and Answers on The Domes
What's going to happen? That could be the toughest question of all.
Originally a private greenhouse attached to the Mitchell family mansion, The Domes became a staple on Milwaukee’s skyline in 1967 when construction on the final building was completed.
A report recommends the buildings be demolished.
Here’s what you need to know about The Domes’ potential demolition and past repairs.
What did the report say?
The report recommends demolishing The Domes. A new facility for the Milwaukee Public Museum would be built with the potential for a greenhouse to be attached.
The Milwaukee Public Museum is working on a $100 million campaign for its new facility. A combined facility would cost at least $300 million, according to estimates by Gallagher Museum Services.
What is going to happen?
At this point, no official decision has been made.
The Domes are considered a park facility, which means the county board must approve the changes. If The Domes and the Milwaukee Public Museum were to integrate, there could be a change in governance.
“My position is to restore and repair the domes,” Ortiz-Velez said.
Ortiz-Velez, who grew up on the South Side, said she is open to the idea of having the new Milwaukee Public Museum facility built in Mitchell Park.
The Domes Task Force has requested its own study and is awaiting those results.
How much would it cost to repair the Domes?
Repairing The Domes could cost anywhere from $60 million to $85 million.
To put things in perspective, the original cost for The Domes reached $4.5 million. Construction began in 1959 and ended in 1967, which allowed the county time to raise the funds.
In 2006, the blast on Falk Corp.’s property in the Menomonee Valley killed several people and damaged the glass structures of The Domes. Two years later, repairs were made with the aid of $500,000 in donations.
In 2016, all three domes were closed for repairs. Pieces of concrete had fallen in 2008 and 2015. As part of the fix, wire mesh was installed inside the glass structure. At the time of the re-opening, Abele said that the fixes were only a temporary fix.
What do The Domes mean to Milwaukee?
When the project began in 1955, 33 architects competed to design the conservatory. Donald L. Grieb, an architect based in Milwaukee, won the competition.
Ian Bautista, the executive director of the Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative and member of The Domes Task Force, said The Domes are intimately intertwined with the culture and identity of Clarke Square and Milwaukee. He believes their removal would have a negative psychological effect on the neighborhood.
This story was originally published by Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, where you can find other stories reporting on eighteen city neighborhoods in Milwaukee.
More about the Future of The Domes
- MKE County: Domes Task Force Recommends $66 Million Plan - Graham Kilmer - Aug 14th, 2019
- Lipscomb Applauds Work of Domes Task Force - County Board Chairman Theodore Lipscomb, Sr. - Aug 13th, 2019
- MKE County: Domes Proposal Requires Great Speed - Graham Kilmer - Jul 24th, 2019
- 4 Questions and Answers on The Domes - Ana Martinez-Ortiz - Mar 30th, 2019
- MKE County: Rumors of Domes’ Demise Exaggerated - Graham Kilmer - Mar 18th, 2019
- Task Force Says Dump the Domes - Corri Hess - Mar 13th, 2019
- Op Ed: Why the Domes Must Be Saved - Peter Zanghi and Stephanie Meeks - Jun 24th, 2018
- Task Force Considers Future of Domes - Graham Kilmer - Dec 14th, 2017
- Will Cheaper Price Save Domes? - Edgar Mendez - Mar 31st, 2017
- Op Ed: Rebuild The Domes - Josh Zepnick - Dec 29th, 2016
- 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