Milwaukee Preservation Alliance
Press Release

Milwaukee County Supervisor Candidates Share Views on Domes, Historic Preservation

Candidates respond to Milwaukee Preservation Alliance survey on favorite historic sites and more

By - Mar 28th, 2022 06:16 pm

MILWAUKEEMilwaukeec (MPA) sent all 2022 Spring Election candidates for County Supervisor listed as “Certified for Ballot” by the Milwaukee County Election Commission the following survey. The purpose of the survey was to better understand their perspectives on historic preservation topics, including the future of the Mitchell Park Domes, located in District 12. The answers provided below are unedited from those candidates who responded. Candidates not included in the below responses did not return answers to MPA.

Candidate responses can also be found on the MPA website at Voters can identify their district at

MPA is a partner with the National Trust for Historic Preservation in the Save Our Domes campaign providing advocacy, education, public engagement, and resources toward a long-term preservation solution for the Mitchell Park Domes. The Domes were listed on the National Trust’s 2016 list of 11 Most Endangered Historic Places and elevated to National Treasure the following year.

What is your favorite historic site, building, or neighborhood in Milwaukee County, and what is your personal connection to it? How will you ensure Milwaukee County’s older buildings, characteristic neighborhoods, and other important historic resources remain vibrant assets to our county’s culture, economy, tourism, and the perception of Milwaukee as a world-class city?

District 1 – Karen Gentile: I believe that the parks and their safe utilization and maintenance of its buildings is necessary, so that our community and visitors can utilize and enjoy one of our greatest natural resources. My entire life, from childhood until today, has involved many hikes, adventures, sports and education in our parks. It is so important for our health and well-bering, both physical and mental!

District 1 – Liz Sumner: Milwaukee County has a fantastic number of historic buildings, but the one that comes to mind is the Milwaukee Public Museum. Growing up in Shorewood, this is one of my favorite places to visit. Now, as an adult and mother of two, I take my kids there which is really special for me. Recently, I was proud to have supported the effort to find a new home for the museum to ensure future generations will have access to this cultural gem.

There is no getting around the deferred maintenance in Milwaukee County. Long term, we need to make a commitment to repairing and replacing these important assets. Our historic buildings, structures and parks are part of what makes this place special and why I am proud to live here. It is my intention to work through the annual budgeting process and with our partners at the State of Wisconsin to find a sustainable and effective way forward.

District 3 – Eric Rorholm: As a proud theatre artist and film enthusiast, I love Milwaukee’s Oriental Theatre – not only the employer of one of my roommates, but a perfect example of the beauty and history nestled between every nook across District 3. I am happy to see the Oriental still in operation, because unfortunately, the building when sold to developers in the 60s and was actually slated to be demolished. We are lucky that these specific men were forward-thinking enough to leave the structure intact, but the reality is that in that moment, our collective history as a community was put in the hands of the highest bidder. That’s the cost of allowing our community to be controlled by rich outside investors: we get poorer and lose our historical assets at the same time.

The historic homes and neighborhoods attracted me to the East Side in the first place, but as a renter living in a 110-year-old-home, I can attest to the very real struggles of legally powerless tenants in old structures: poor insulation, rodents, and wear-and-tear with age are common experiences for tenants, who are disproportionately marginalized communities. Oftentimes, these costs are even passed down to the tenant via confiscating security deposits and then restorative work is not done or done poorly. Worst of all, the de facto segregation and longstanding racial economic inequality still impacting the County means Black and brown residents are by far the most likely to suffer from neglect or destruction of historic sites. In short, working class people are the greatest victims of destruction of historic neighborhoods and buildings.

The truth is that residents that don’t own their home have no democratic control of their communities. Over HALF of Milwaukee’s homes are owned by people who don’t even live here. Cracking down on big-money and/or predatory landlords and making it easier to buy a home are the best ways to empower residents and businesses to protect their properties and stop the trend of landlord-orchestrated sacrifice of historic communities.

District 3 – Sheldon A. Wasserman: The Historic Water Tower Neighborhood is my favorite neighborhood in Milwaukee—and not just because I live there! I feel very strongly about the need for preservation, and I believe this neighborhood perfectly demonstrates why preservation is so important. Older buildings add a certain character to our community that cannot be regained once it’s gone, not to mention the labor costs and lost skill sets associated with trying to recreate historic resources. Put simply: we can’t rebuild the past.

My favorite building in Milwaukee is our County Courthouse. It’s a stunning building not just from the outside, but from the inside too. It’s the seat of our county government, the seat of justice, and it’s the people’s building. I’m proud of the efforts that have been taken to preserve the Courthouse and keep it in prime condition for nearly 100 years.

District 4 – Ryan Clancy: As the Supervisor from the 4th District which includes Bay View, I’d have to claim Bay View as my favorite neighborhood even if it wasn’t. I’ve lived here for nearly two decades, and am fortunate to be surrounded by so much rich labor history, from Puddler’s Hall (and the cottages) to the South Shore Pavilion, where I was married. Bay View is a good example of a neighborhood which has changed a great deal in recent decades, but that, with some effort, has managed to maintain its connection to its past in a way that I hope can serve as a model for other parts of Milwaukee.

District 5 – Sequanna Taylor: I have a few favorites in Milwaukee County.

One is the 53206 zip code in which I grew up in. The house has been in the Family since 1958.  Another is the Black Historical  Society in which Black Cultural and pieces can be seen throughout.  The programming enhances and education the Community as a whole on History of Black people journey past, present, and what looks toward the Future.

We have to continue shining a light on these places, ensuring funding & resources are available. Also getting the word out on the history and location, meeting with different groups and/or organizations that are preserving, advocating, and educating on these sites.

District 6 – Shawn Rolland: My favorite historic building is the one nearest to my family’s home: the Kneeland-Walker house, the home of Wauwatosa’s Historical Society. I appreciate how it’s been preserved and how the community has used the building and the grounds for activities and events all year. I think it’s important to weigh the historical significance of buildings and neighborhoods as we seek to modernize and renovate aging facilities. In Wauwatosa, we carefully considered this exact notion as we sought to repair and rebuild school buildings as part of Wauwatosa’s $124.9 million school referendum. We found ways to preserve and protect treasured artifacts and buildings while renovating and rebuilding areas that held less historical significance. It was a balancing act, to be sure, but I’m proud of the way we moved forward.

District 11 – Kathleen Vincent: Milwaukee County is home to so many unique historic sites, buildings and neighborhoods. I personally enjoy walking through the different historic areas and learning about their history. The different historic buildings such as the Milwaukee County Courthouse, City Hall and Federal Building all interest me due to their rich history of serving our community’s governmental needs. I have even visited these buildings with my students over the years. I enjoy walking through the historic neighborhoods of Milwaukee County to learn more about their history and of the people who originally settled there. As a Milwaukee County Supervisor I will do my best to support and ensure the continued success of these buildings, sites and neighborhoods as they are part of our history and should be preserved for future generations.

District 12 – Juan Miguel Martinez: It is definitely the Domes here in beautiful Clarke Square, Milwaukee. I grew up having barbecues at Mitchell park, in the picnic area that overlooks the Menomonee valley right next to the domes. It is important these as well as other cultural assets in Milwaukee remain accessible by staying public. I would like to be part of it by keeping it all available to everyone and through proper funding.

District 12 – Josh Zepnick: Tough to choose. I would say that my favorite building is the Pabst Theater. So many memories as both child and adult seeing performances and every time I drive by, I am amazed at its beauty and history. For neighborhood, naturally I would choose one in the District: Burnham Park. It has great housing and a rich history of immigrant families and businesses. You can even see the remnants of Milwaukee’s streetcar days in some spots where rail is still showing in the ground and the electric rail building on Burnham street itself. It is economically and culturally diverse and is easily accessible to nearby destinations. How will you ensure Milwaukee County’s older buildings, characteristic neighborhoods, and other important historic resources remain vibrant assets to our county’s culture, economy, tourism, and the perception of Milwaukee as a world-class city?

County government does not have the same zoning, land use or historic preservation authority that municipal government does. Having said that, the County owns a large amount of WPA/CCC created property in the Parks and benefits from preservation by providing access via public transit. Wherever possible, it is important that the County be a strong partner with local units of city government to preserve our rich history.

District 14 – Dyango Zerpa: Milwaukee has so much historic architecture it’s hard to pick a favorite. I believe Milwaukee has a very strong culture of preserving historic structures and hope that never changes. As a Supervisor, I intend doing everything I can, to assist in granting historic designations to cultural sites that are part of Milwaukee’s heritage. I want to also ensure these sites are maintained properly.

District 15 – Peter M. Burgelis: Growing up my family often visited the Domes-  I still remember the feeling of awe that such a cool place was right in my hometown. In winter months these visits often felt like a mini-vacation. Even though I’d not yet been to a real tropical location, the warmth and humidity told my younger self that this is what paradise smells and feels like. One of my campaign platforms is to protect and invest in these recognizable landmarks. The Domes restoration project will provide jobs, maintain an important tourist attraction, and continue to inspire new generations.

So many Milwaukee County neighborhoods are hidden gems- because of our parks. My experiences when I was younger growing up in a single parent household included sledding at the unofficial Honey Creek Parkway hill and in summer months, we would walk over to Jacobus Park and cool off or watch the ducks in the lagoon. These are the experiences that shaped me and I still value 40 years later. In recent years, I discovered the Statue of Labor in Jackson Park which spoke to me and the progress I believe our city can achieve. I will work daily to demonstrate why every resident of Milwaukee County deserves to enjoy these valuable sights and experiences.

District 15 – John F. Weishan, Jr.: Old Soldiers Home the Veterans Administration grounds.

The 15th District now includes the VA Grounds. As a United States Marine Corps veteran I have great respect and reverence for the grounds and buildings that have served our country’s heroes since the 1860’s.

Growing up in West Allis on 63rd and Mitchell and attending West Milwaukee High School, I spent many days playing around the VA grounds. In the summer we would launch model rockets in what was an open field now the site of a new regional office building and in the winter sledding on the hills. My friends and I spent many hours exploring the grounds and buildings and I was always impressed by the design and amazing history of the buildings. The VA grounds and buildings are truly unique and hold a special place in our local, state and national history.

How will I ensure Milwaukee County’s older buildings remain vibrant assets?

By speaking out in the district and around our county and state about the importance and impact of older buildings and neighborhoods, how they have shaped our communities and how they can continue to be a positive asset moving forward into the future.


District 18 – Russell Antonio Goodwin, Sr. (registered write-in candidate): Choosing a favorite historic site, building, or neighborhood is very hard because we are a unique city and county with a beautiful design. One element I would like to highlight is the Cream City bricks. I have always been fascinated with the uniqueness of the Cream City bricks and how their fashionability has withstood the test of time. With that being said, one of my favorite buildings is the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church. Even though the cream has been darkened over the years by certain eliminates, it has withstood the test of time fashionably and structurally. In 2018 the church caught on fire, and the damage was so great that it was unclear if it was structurally sound enough to rebuild, but after inspections were concluded, there was no structural damage to the Cream City Brick. When I travel to Georgia, I love to see the Red Clay Hills, but there is nothing like seeing our “Cream City Brick” buildings when I come home to Milwaukee.

District 18 – Byron Marshall (registered write-in candidate): I would say Dr. Martin Luther King Drive within the Bronzeville neighborhood is my favorite neighborhood and historic site because of its vibrancy and the thriving local businesses, predominantly minority-owned small businesses. I share a personal connection because my non-profit organization, Community Huddle, which I founded in 2015 is located on King Drive and works in the same vein as Dr. King to fight for equity and peace for all Milwaukeeans. That is why as Milwaukee County Supervisor I will fight to preserve neighborhoods and buildings like historic King Drive by working with organizations such as the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance (MPA) to maintain buildings enlisted and registered as having historic designation to ensure their upkeep and maintenance while also identifying buildings for historic registry to ensure preservation and legal protections from demolition, also a plan for the curation of these buildings and landmarks to provide exhibits, interpretations, and displays. . I know that investments made will enrich our community to enjoy these treasured landmarks and buildings and would make for great tourist attractions, which contributes to our local economy and promotes Milwaukee as a world-class city.

District 18 – Teneen Rucker (registered write-in candidate): My favorite historic neighborhood is old world third street. There is a favorite of culture and cuisines that offered new experiences for everyone. As a child I loved walking along the river walk. The view of the city from the walk is amazing at night. I do not believe there is anything that one person can do to ensure anything, I do believe however, that working together to continue to provide the great resources that has kept our historic buildings, characteristic neighborhoods and historic sites as vibrant assets will be beneficial to keep Milwaukee as a world-class city.

If elected, what specific efforts will you make to promote and incorporate the reuse of existing buildings into the county’s health and equity vision as well as its sustainability programs and policies?

District 1 – Karen Gentile: Many of these buildings need repairs and could benefit from a public awareness campaign and possible volunteer involvement and stewardship.

District 1 – Liz Sumner: Part of the health and equity vision in Milwaukee County includes addressing the root causes of structural racism. While serving on the Milwaukee County Board, it is my intention to ensure that the repurposing of any building goes toward this goal.

District 3 – Eric Rorholm: As a climate activist, the need to protect our frontline communities is at the top of my priority list, and unfortunately the climate crisis is already here. That means weatherizing, increasing energy efficiency, and protecting existing properties is every bit as important as ensuring new developments are also environmentally safe and sustainable. I support County spending on weatherization programs and want to continue to expand that kind of direct aid that helps Milwaukee County residents drive down energy costs and protect their homes.

It is also important to acknowledge that over half of Milwaukee’s units are owned by people outside the city, and that too often the reason for disrepair is landlord neglect. Landlords are not beholden to the wellness of our community, only to the amount of income they can extract from their tenants. We cannot protect our historic assets if they have been sold to the highest bidder to someone who only wants to profit off them. Promoting home ownership, then, is key in returning democratic control of our communities to the people who live there and stopping the trend of urban decay at its source.

District 3 – Sheldon A. Wasserman: As Chair of the Parks, Energy, & Environment Committee, I’m acutely aware that we currently have upwards of $450 million in deferred maintenance—much of which is for historic buildings within our Parks System. We’re in an untenable situation trying to repair and preserve these buildings, and the current policy of simply waiting around for them to fall apart is unacceptable. It is imperative that these buildings be saved, or else we risk losing touch with crucial parts of our shared Milwaukee heritage.

I’ve led the charge on saving historic resources before—such as the Lake Park Ravine Bridge—and I’m fully committed to continue doing so in the future.

District 4 – Ryan Clancy: In April of 2021, the Committees on Health Equity, Human Needs and Strategic Planning and Finance received an informational report which suggested that the County wanted to abandon the Marcia P. Coggs Center, a building which, in addition to its historic significance, functions as a hub of human services. Despite being centrally situated in a community in great need of those services, and within an existing campus of human needs, the County seemed to be heading towards a decision to sell the building and instead to lease space in other places to save money in the short term. Such short-term thinking, though, where we give up valuable public assets, only ends up enriching landlords and costing us more in the long-term. I vigorously opposed that plan, and have championed the plan from the Department of Health and Human Services to request ARPA funds for the renovation of the Coggs Center, ensuring that we are investing in the current building – and the community which it serves – instead of in rent from private entities.

It often makes sense on many levels to invest in our current assets rather than discarding them in favor of something new. As with the Coggs Center, it’s often a matter of equity and access as well. I will continue to advocate for keeping public buildings public and in our hands, consistent with a long-term vision rather than short-term savings.

District 5 – Sequanna Taylor: If Elected, I would  first start researching and reaching out to those who are more familiar and working toward this goal. The Community has to be an Integral part of this work.  Looking at different County building for easibility and alignment of usage for programming.

Checking to see what policies are in place, and other policies and procedures needed to be forth to promote our incorporate the efforts.

District 6 – Shawn Rolland: My approach will certainly be to do what I can to maintain, protect and preserve Milwaukee County’s historical buildings, rather than tearing them down and rebuilding. However, I will also challenge the operators and curators of the historic buildings that our county supports to do more to attract visitors and popular/relevant events to these facilities on a year-round basis. If our historic buildings are widely used and deeply embraced by the community, especially if they are used in alignment with the county’s goals in its strategic plan, the argument to maintain and save them will be that much more compelling. If they are not utilized and exist to satisfy the preferences of just a few advocates, the opposite will be true.

District 11 – Kathleen Vincent: I am very much in favor of preserving our historic buildings and would promote and support efforts to reuse these spaces. I would actively work with other County leaders to see to it that these buildings remain accessible to all residents. This may require some updates to ensure that they are ADA compliant.

District 12 – Juan Miguel Martinez: I have seen the MPA’s plan from 2019 for keeping the domes functioning and modernizing it, and feel this is definitely the most comprehensive. I will strive and push to properly fund the domes this way.

District 12 – Josh Zepnick: See answer above.

District 14 – Dyango Joses Zerpa: I would like to work with organizations like MPA to identify buildings that could be used for these purposes and potentially form public-private partnerships to implement our equity vision in the community.

District 15 – Peter M. Burgelis: Unfortunately, not every beautiful or special building can be utilized or restored, but even with limited resources, much can be accomplished. The successful preservation of the Soldiers Home involved listening to stakeholders and collaborating with multiple funding sources. As County Supervisor I’ll do everything I can to facilitate and promote similar projects.

I would use examples of how the concept of ‘adaptive reuse’ from other cities can be a model for Milwaukee (Santa Ana, CA and Worcester, MA to name a few). I’ll start by making my case to our County Board committees and coordinate with municipalities. The housing crisis demands action. Across the U.S., countless other structures were already underused, abandoned, or functionally obsolete before the pandemic. The U.S. government alone owned about 45,000 of them in 2014, according to The Economist. This must be a priority as the pandemic has exasperated the need for affordable housing for our most vulnerable citizens. We have to get creative so that everyone can win.

District 15 – John F. Weishan, Jr.: As a current Milwaukee County Board Supervisor I have promoted investment in our older and historic park facilities as point of service outlets for our neighborhoods. Clean, safe, well maintained facilities promote a healthy community and instill a sense of pride in a neighborhood, they create a rallying point for a community and a forum to teach the next generation of citizens the values and importance of participating in our society.

I have supported investments in our cultural assets like Charles Allis and Villa Terrace, the War Memorial Center and the Domes. Milwaukee County has an incredible wealth of historic and culturally important buildings that have the potential to shape the future as much as they have shaped the past.


District 18 – Russell Antonio Goodwin, Sr. (registered write-in candidate): You will probably hear me repeat this a few times. But I believe it is time for Milwaukee County to look for grants and Strategic Partnerships to help things get done where the State is coming up short in the shared revenue percentage. We must be very aggressive about our Strategic Partnerships as well as our focus on applying for grants is a must. So we must be creative to halt deferred maintenance, and now it’s time to get the job done. Milwaukee County is very marketable, and I believe that it is also time that we began to pursue merchandising Milwaukee County like never before actively. People love this town, and I believe that our fine Citizens would love to show their Milwaukee County Spirit in many different ways to help raise money to help preserve our Historic Buildings.

District 18 – Byron Marshall (registered write-in candidate): ​Policies and programming that address the county’s health and equity vision would have to be aligned with the usage of those buildings. I would promote public-private partnerships to leverage funding sources and for building and programming sustainability.

District 18 – Teneen Rucker (registered write-in candidate): I would propose a creative arts hub that was a space for youth dance competitions, black and brown creative art performances, family movie nights, local talent concerts and faith based revivals and conference’s.

Outreach to the public has consistently shown strong public support for a long-term preservation solution for the Domes, including over 2,500 signatories to a petition calling for such a way forward ( In 2016, the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors set official County policy to “pursue the repair and preservation of the existing Mitchell Park Conservatory Domes” (Resolution 16-200). The most recent figures related to the restoration of the Mitchell Park Domes indicate that a restoration of the Domes structure would cost approximately $20 million (See additional details at

How would you approach a long-term plan for the Mitchell Park Domes? What factors are most important to consider when thinking about the future of the Domes?

District 1 – Karen Gentile: I think that other sources of funding must be thoroughly investigated. I’m thinking of endowments, grants, and public fundraising. One must Increase awareness and the need to care for these precious gems. I would be in favor of the county supporting any initiatives to put this in place.

District 1 – Liz Sumner: The Mitchell Park Domes are part of the fabric of Milwaukee County and it is hard to imagine not seeing them dotting our skyline. But the reality is that like other cultural assets needing repair and replacement, we lack the resources in our budget to address this serious issue. It is time for the State of Wisconsin to allow Milwaukee County to pass a sales tax to support our cultural assets, among other important services.

District 3 – Eric Rorholm: Budgets are statements of values. What we, as a County Board, choose to invest in—and not invest in—implicitly makes the point of who, and what, we value as a County. That is why it is so disturbing and disgusting to see that parks funding has been a systemic issue for literal decades, and it’s no accident that my opponent went all-in to repair a bridge in Lake Park and then stood in opposition to funding for the Domes.

As a climate activist and Green New Deal advocate, protecting & expanding the Mitchell Park Domes is a top issue for me, and the reality is that the Domes are in danger precisely because some Supervisors are ideologically unwilling to make the kinds of budget moves needed to ensure a long-term future for our parks. I believe strongly in a dedicated funding source for Milwaukee County’s parks system, and while movement and reorganization of budgets within the existing framework is important, there is simply no realistic way to ensure Milwaukee County can protect our parks and our people unless we do two things: tax the rich and cut spending on the Sheriff’s Department. Given the strict, punitive budget restrictions put on Milwaukee County by our far-right state legislature, cutting Sheriff spending is our most viable path towards preserving our parks.

I have been in discussions with Sup. Clancy for a long time exploring how we protect the Domes and I am extremely excited about plans to repair and expand the facility – bringing union jobs and new development into South side communities that are systematically ignored. This new blueprint (a Green New Deal, if you will) is the right direction for Milwaukee County: improving our public assets, increasing access to public institutions and green spaces, and eliminating economic inequality.

District 3 – Sheldon A. Wasserman: I believe environmental concerns and financial viability are the two most important factors to consider when looking at any long-term plan to repair and preserve the Mitchell Park Conservatory Domes. I’m looking forward to the upcoming proposal from Rebecca Stoner (Milwaukee Parks Foundation) which will identify potential funding sources and realistic options to keep the Domes open to the public.

To come up with a successful plan to repair and preserve the Domes, we need a number of important stakeholders on board—including the offices of the County Executive, the Corporation Counsel, and the County Comptroller—due to the numerous resources they have at their disposal. County Executive Crowley has the most power of anyone to lead on this issue and fully address the Mitchell Park Domes preservation. I pledge to work with the County Executive, Ms. Stoner, and anyone else who is passionate about this deeply important project.

District 4 – Ryan Clancy: It was frustrating this December to be faced with an ask for another $300k contract for the net and repairs to the Domes, which merely keeps chunks of the building from falling onto visitors and does nothing to address the larger issues. In 2019, I remember sitting in the Domes with my child Sebastian, who – at age 11 – spoke to the crowd in support of a comprehensive plan which would not only repair that landmark, but transform it into a community hub and to bring hundreds of jobs and a g–eat deal of economic development to a neighborhood in great need of it. Sebastian wasn’t alone; that plan had overwhelming public support, and yet we can’t seem to summon the political will to fund that plan. I authored a budget amendment for the 2022 budget which would have funded roughly a quarter of the most recent estimate of restoration, but – despite nearly universal support from the public, and compelling testimony in favor – it did not have the votes to pass from my colleagues. My hope is that, once we can get a foot in the door, and to find the will to set aside the first dollars, that the public support will be enough to help us allocate the rest. The surrounding area – and the thousands of residents and tourists which will benefit from it – deserve us to follow through on this plan. I will continue to advocate for a plan not just to save the domes but to fulfill the potential that the community knows it has.

District 5 – Sequanna Taylor: These are some important factors I think of in reference of the Domes.

Rehabilitation and what does that consists of?

What other opportunities and or programming that could take place at the Dome?

Staffing, hours of operation and availability to the people

Safety work place for staff and safety (in reference of building being up to part)and accessibility for public.

Continued Funding and Upkeep of the Domes.

I believe it will take consistence of continued strategic planning, funding opportunities and Dedication of the Public, Government, Businesses, and Grassroots Organizations and leaders coming together to Preserve the Domes.

District 6 – Shawn Rolland: I am very interested in reading the independent feasibility analysis being prepared for the county’s Grants and Special Projects division and the Facilities Management division. My hope that that analysis will provide some helpful insight the revenue sources and the capital funding stack that could be used to fund this project.

District 11 – Kathleen Vincent: I would work with County planners to identify the long and short range needs of the Mitchell Park Domes. Given the cost necessary to preserve this site there would need to be a comprehensive plan that addresses the immediate needs while determining the future of this site. I would support efforts to raise funds for this site which would help offset costs to taxpayers. In the end, this site is an important part of our County’s history and deserves time and attention towards revitalizing it.

District 12 – Juan Miguel Martinez: It is important that it is treated not only as a city landmark, but also transform it into a community hub that would provide up to 300 jobs. It is important that residents of the 12th recognize this as a place that will reinvigorate the district when properly funded.

District 12 – Josh Zepnick: As a former State Legislator for Milwaukee’s South Side with a District that included the Domes, I attended public meetings and kept in touch with key stakeholders. My views have evolved over time. I had been convinced a total new rebuild was necessary and I would thoroughly re-evaluate that as a County Supervisor. Whatever the solution, something needs to be done and fast.

It is my view that the Domes rebuild should be a centerpiece of a complete overhaul of Mitchell Park itself. Possible ideas include: adding amenities for more outdoor recreation including swimming, more public art throughout the space, and it might sound crazy but what about a giant ferris wheel if it could fit?

I have argued that the entire project must be designed to better connect the Domes and the Park to: nearby Menonomee Valley and trails, nearby businesses and homes, and take into consideration the large number of kids under 18 living within walking distance and going to nearby schools.

District 14 – Dyango Joses Zerpa: The first step towards repairing and restoring the Domes is to correct the misinformation surrounding the dollar amount for repairs. Many believe it will cost way more to fix than it actually will. Its important that the public and elected officials have the right information when making important decisions like this. The Domes are not only a cherished landmark and unique part of our skyline, it is an educational asset to the surrounding community as well as the whole County. As Supervisor I will start by putting forward resolutions that will allocate funds for the proper assessments to be made on the facility, which will allow us to create a plan for repairs which in turn, will make the Domes a shovel ready project. We will then explore all funding options including Grants and ARPA dollars as well as the county’s capital budget funds.

District 15 – Peter M. Burgelis: Though County funding is currently limited by the State Legislature, I’ll fight for local control of revenue generated by our city to include permanent transit and parks funding. The Wisconsin tax system unfairly burdens property owners while visitors and neighbors enjoy our attractions, but don’t participate in their investment or upkeep. Budgets are value statements on the community’s priorities. Milwaukee values are prioritizing our people and shared spaces. As County Supervisor in the 15th district, I will fight for every dollar from Madison and work diligently to ensure that the investment in our community does the most good for every neighborhood.

I attended and listened to the September 2019 County Board meeting at the Domes where the restoration project was shared and I’m concerned that almost three years later, the Board hasn’t made this project a priority. The temporary netting solution has cost $300,000 dollars and while is certainly needed, this only delays the restoration project and kicks the decision for progress further down the road. We have a short window for ARPA funding and using those funds for the Domes project (and other sorely needed infrastructure) with responsible bidder and shared labor agreements is the perfect opportunity to grow and expand skills of our labor force and keep this community treasure intact for generations to come.

District 15 – John F. Weishan, Jr.: I support the Domes long term plan proposed by the Domes taskforce.

We have a unique opportunity at this time due to the federal funding in the covid response and America Rescue Plan Act and new federal infrastructure spending plan. I believe that a combination of Milwaukee County funding in conjunction with state and federal dollars along with the implementation of the task force’s proposal would create a secure long term future for the domes.

I would like to thank the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance for your efforts to preserve

Milwaukee’s heritage.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at (414) 364-4725 or Email at

For additional information on my campaign, my positions on issues facing Milwaukee county, Please go to


District 18 – Russell Antonio Goodwin, Sr. (registered write-in candidate): Being that when I attended MPS, we took many of my most memorable trips to the Mitchell Park Domes. I can remember the beauty and splendor of the Mitchell Park Conservatory Domes just like it was yesterday.  Moving forward, I believe it will take strategic partnerships that must incorporate many different citizens, business leaders, businesses, and so much more. There must be a three-point plan moving forward.

#1 Market the Domes for the Future – We must market the Mitchell Domes from the future. When people come to the Domes, they should be able to leave with merchandise and souvenirs about the Mitchell Domes. In this, we must also cross-market the services provided by Milwaukee County. This must also be the premier place for wedding venues, concerts, conventions, and other events. We must also create an App to promote the Mitchell Domes events.

#2 Sell or Lease out the Naming Rights for the Domes – Milwaukee County should explore selling the naming rights of the Mitchell Domes for a Short or Long Term Agreement Period. For example, it could be “The American Family- Mitchell Park Domes, The Harley Davidson-Mitchell Park Domes, it could be the “Potowanomi -Mitchell Park Domes, the list of possibilities goes on and on. But we must take a strong look at selling or leasing the naming rights.

#3 Create a Food Truck Park – One thing we must also explore is blacktopping the entire parking lot and designing and designating an area for food trucks. Each Food Truck Vendor could then rent/lease space within the parking lot, and that rent would then be used to help fund the remodel and maintenance of the Mitchell Park Domes.

​District 18 – Byron Marshall (registered write-in candidate): Certainly, I would approach a long term plan for the Mitchell Park Domes by working within the framework of the Milwaukee County Task Force on the Mitchell Park Conservatory Domes, and work with the county’s grants and special projects and facilities management divisions, as well as our parks department, department of administrative services and others to put forth a realistic funding strategy. I would also be open to the idea of using both traditional financing and innovative approaches to generate funds to support parks and recreation capital expenditures. But with flat and declining shared revenue from the state, one of the important factors has to be more shared revenue to solve the structural problems and fund the vast capital needed to renovate the iconic Mitchell Park Domes.

District 18 – Teneen Rucker (registered write-in candidate): I would propose a plan to focus on revitalization of the area around the Domes. I would propose an opportunity to create a space for events year round at the Domes bringing more tourist. The Domes is unique, the only one of its kind and should be cared for as such.


About the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance, Inc.

Milwaukee Preservation Alliance, Inc. is a non-profit organization devoted to promoting stewardship and awareness of the historic, cultural, and economic value of Milwaukee’s built heritage. MPA aims to strengthen Milwaukee’s neighborhoods by advocating for and promoting their unique cultural spaces and architectural assets in order to foster a strong and vibrant community as well as demonstrating the link between historic preservation and viable economic development.

NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. It has not been verified for its accuracy or completeness.

Recent Press Releases by Milwaukee Preservation Alliance

Milwaukee Preservation Alliance Names New Full-Time Executive Director

Preservationist and architectural design professional Emelia Rudd to carry MPA forward.

Milwaukee Preservation Alliance Announces New Ways to Explore the Milwaukee Soldiers Home

Free walking tour app gets a facelift, in-person group tours now available

One thought on “Milwaukee County Supervisor Candidates Share Views on Domes, Historic Preservation”

  1. nickzales says:

    The only solution to The Domes situation proposed is a sales tax. It’s not going to happen. I see a lot of talk but no concrete plans. How are we supposed to decide who to vote for if they won’t tell us what they propose to do? I’ve already voted in my district. Neither one of the candidates bothered to respond to this survey. That is unfortunate.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us