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Mitchell Park Domes task force down to 2 options

Posted at 5:49 PM, Sep 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-14 19:40:38-04

MILWAUKEE -- The future of the Mitchell Park Domes is coming into focus as those helping decide its fate are down to two options.  

The Domes task force said their first choice would be to spend $85 million to create a regional attraction. Their second choice is much cheaper at $25 million, but the upgrades wouldn't be as substantial. 

"The task force has voted to not do any further work on doing nothing or tearing them down," said task force chairman Bill Lynch. 

Lynch says those options were axed by hired consultants and public feedback. In a survey with 2,400 participants, just one percent wanted nothing done to the domes. Only one percent wanted to tear them down. 

The most favorable option, garnering 32 percent, preferred going all out with a tourist destination.  They voted for an extravagant EcoDome filled with canopy walks, aquariums and live animals, to the tune of $85 million. 

"Even if all the money for repairing and restoring the domes came from taxpayers and a significant portion of the targeted investments it doesn't come out to a whole lot for a home of $150,000," said Lynch.  

"Point blank I think all options should be on the table," said Supervisor Sheldon Wasserman.  

Given that the EcoDome would require significant private dollars, Wasserman is worried whether taxpayers are willing to take on the full load if fundraising isn't successful. 

"If a community looks at what that option could be and looks at the price tag associated with it, it should always be available," he said.  

These options will be subject to a public hearing and even if they are favored, they are just suggestions. The county board and executive can choose what to do with the domes as they see fit.