Last weekend, Milwaukee’s beloved Mitchell Park Domes were closed following safety concerns over falling chunks of concrete. The Tropical Dome was closed, the Desert Dome was closed, and yes, even the Floral Show Dome was closed. Then, yesterday, mere hours after Mayor Tom Barrett gave a “state of the city” speech touting Milwaukee’s “solid infrastructure,” it was announced that the domes would be closed indefinitely due to, well, shitty infrastructure.
The fate of the nearly 50-year-old landmarks—one of which was dedicated by Lady Bird Johnson, for Christ’s sake—is currently up in the air. County Executive Chris Abele has indicated a short-term “wrapping” project, in which canvas-like material would be installed to catch any more errant blocks of concrete, could cost somewhere in the “big six figures.” A full replacement, meanwhile, could wind up in the $65 million to $75 million range. “That’s a lot of money for the county,” Abele said in a quote that gets worse as it goes along. “It’s important, though, that we give ourselves the opportunity 50 years after the creation of the Domes to ask ourselves as a community: is this what we want to do going forward; replicate the Domes again?”
But never fear, because now there’s a GoFundMe campaign (and a “Save the Mitchell Park Domes” Facebook page) dedicated to raising $10 million to save the crumbling bio-domes! The online campaign—which falls somewhere between “Bring PBR Home” and “Bring the 2024 Summer Olympics to Milwaukee” on the patented Milwaukee Record Scale of Feasibility—seeks to “raise at least a portion of the funding needed” for the repair job, as well as “encourage both the City and County of Milwaukee to do what’s right and invest in something that is more than wasted space.” Okay!
The creator of the campaign can’t yet offer any rewards for folks willing to donate money to a random crowdfunding thing that has absolutely no connection to the County, the City, or anyone involved with the Domes, though he’s “certainly going to look into it.”
[UPDATE: The campaign is no longer accepting donations. Real donations to the Friends of the Milwaukee Domes can be made here.]