• Statements from Save Our Domes on Proposed Budget Amendments

    October 29, 2018

    On Thursday, October 25, 2018, during the Finance Committee meeting of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, the Save Our Domes Coalition read the following statements on two proposed amendments.

    The below statement was in response to Amend Org. Unit No. 9,000—Department of Parks, Recreation, and Culture and Org. Unit No. 1,900—Cultural Contributions-Milwaukee Public Museum. This amendment passed and will now be considered by the full Board of Supervisors:

    We are appreciative of the Milwaukee County Supervisors’ continued focus on the future of the Mitchell Park Domes, a beloved local landmark and nationally significant historic place. As this process moves forward, we would encourage this committee to work as closely as possible with the Domes Task Force, as well as seeking input and engagement from the community.

    As this amendment is discussed, we want to remind supervisors that time and time again, whether at public meetings or through online surveys, the public has voiced their support for protecting the Domes from disinvestment, destruction, and demolition.

    We are confident that as this conversation progresses, rehabilitation will be shown as the most cost-effective and positive outcome for the Mitchell Park Domes. Save Our Domes is eager to be a resource throughout this process, and we look forward to working together to build a successful and vibrant future for this iconic landmark.

    The below statement was in response to Amend Org. Unit No. 3,270—Office of the County Clerk and Election Commission and Org. Unit No. 9,000—Department of Parks, Recreation, and Culture. After discussion by the committee, the amendment was withdrawn before a vote was taken.

    Today, Save Our Domes spoke to the Finance Committee in opposition to the budget amendment proposing a county-wide advisory referendum related to the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory concurrent with the spring election. A public referendum before the Domes Task Force can refine projected costs, potential public-private funding sources, and explore new governance models, would be extremely premature. In addition, the potential to investigate co-location of the Milwaukee Public Museum and the Domes has only just been proposed and should be a factor in these discussions.

  • Survey Supports Preserving Our Domes!

    August 6, 2018

    The results of last month’s public survey on potential options for the Domes are in—and they reinforce the overwhelming community support for a preservation solution for these Midcentury Modern icons. The survey received over 2,400 responses, and 67 percent of responders preferred reinvesting in all three Domes (options 4, 5a, and 5b combined). Thanks to all of you who took action for the Domes!

    The Domes Task Force’s Phase 1 "Future Path and Feasibility Study" report makes it clear that reinvesting in the Mitchell Park Domes would spur transformative educational, conservation, social, and community benefits, as well as encourage economic growth and job creation.

    Save Our Domes hopes that Milwaukee County will continue to take this overwhelming community support of the restoration and preservation of all three Mitchell Park Domes into account as the future of this historic landmark is decided. Stay tuned for more updates about the Task Force’s work and details about the next Save Our Domes meeting, to be held in late summer/early fall.
  • Show Your Support for the Domes by July 9

    June 19, 2018

    The Domes Task Force is currently evaluating long-term options for the future of the Mitchell Park Domes. Working with outside consultants, the Task Force has developed eight options and are seeking public comment until Monday, July 9. To comment, visit MitchellDomes.org and click “Survey” in the upper right-hand corner, and then click “Take Survey” again in the lower left-hand corner. We suggest you pick option 4, 5A or 5B from the drop-down “Your Preferred Options” menu, and include the following comment:

    I support proposals that do not demolish one or more of the Domes, but instead reinvest in the Domes and fully realize the extraordinary asset they could become. New and expanded uses that ensure the Domes will remain relevant to new generations of residents should be compatible with the core mission of the conservatory and protect the horticultural collection. The theme for any type of destination attraction (Eco Dome, Adventure Dome, or other) should be driven by community members, following a transparent and open public input process. I hope the Task Force will fully explore all options that retain and reinvest in the three existing Domes. I do not support Options 6a or 6b, which would require demolition of one of the Domes.

  • Architect who designed Milwaukee landmark the Domes has died at age 99

    March 20, 2018

    The architect of Milwaukee’s Mitchell Park Domes, Donald Grieb, has passed away at age 99. Most of Grieb’s other high-profile commissions in Milwaukee, including the Milwaukee County Courthouse Annex and Union Station, have been demolished, leaving the Domes to carry his legacy of daring Midcentury Modern design into the next generation.

    In a 2016 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel interview, Grieb's son, Donald Grieb Jr., said of his father's design: "He woke up at 4 a.m. and it just kind of burst into his head. I remember him making models out of toothpicks and balsa wood at home."

    Greib won an international design competition for the right to design the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory in 1958. In addition to their stunning architectural features, the Domes are marvels of modern engineering, featuring the world’s first “conoidal”—or cone-shaped—domes. They are the world’s first glass conoidal domes, and remain the only glass conoidal domes in the world being used as conservatories. Grieb’s groundbreaking “Dome Building Construction” method received a patent in 1965.

    The Save Our Domes Coalition continues to advocate for the rehabilitation and reuse of all three Domes as a community resource, with programming and sustainable financial operations.

  • Task force recently reviewed eight options for future use of the domes

    February 27, 2018

    On February 20, the Milwaukee County Task Force on the Mitchell Park Domes reviewed eight different “future options” for the Domes. This wide range of options included doing nothing and/or addressing deferred maintenance; conducting targeted investment; demolishing one or more domes; creating a new destination attraction; and more. View the presentation from the meeting here.

    Below is the statement the Save Our Domes coalition made at Tuesday’s meeting:

    “The Save Our Domes coalition believes the Domes are a valuable and essential part of the community, and we have been working to find a thoughtful, long-term preservation solution that will ensure the Domes remain a beloved Milwaukee icon and world-class conservatory for generations to come.

    From the beginning, we have said that inspiring, innovative architecture often requires equally creative solutions. We were pleased to see that several of the options have embraced this idea and include continued use of all three Domes. However, we are very concerned that other options include doing nothing or, worse, propose demolition of one or more of the Domes.

    We look forward to supporting scenarios where all three domes are rehabbed and reused. The Domes have been a center of community life and a tourism destination for more than 50 years. We cannot lose this iconic national treasure that is beloved by people here in Milwaukee and all across Wisconsin. Moving forward, we encourage a robust public engagement process so that Milwaukee residents can make their voices heard about the future of the Domes.”

    As more information becomes available about future Task Force meetings and opportunities for public engagement, we will keep you informed. Thank you for your support of the Domes!

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