The reimagined Mitchell Park Domes could include a restaurant, pavilion and workforce development

The reimagined Mitchell Park Domes could include a restaurant, pavilion and workforce development

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In recent months, there has been a lot of debate about what to do about the Mitchell Park Domes, which is in serious need of renovation. Some ideas have included tearing it down and combining it with the new public museum.

A Milwaukee County Task force will vote on a new $66 million plan that would re-envision what the domes could be this evening.

What is inside this plan and what could it mean for the future of the Mitchell Park Domes?

In a plan titled "A New Urban Botanical Park and Conservatory: Re-envisioning Mitchell Park and its Domes for the Next 50 years," it layouts a comprehensive redevelopment of not only the domes but the entire park surrounding Milwaukee's iconic landmark.

Here are some of the highlights of the 159-page plan:

  • Freshly programmed and animated Domes, bringing the world of plants, their ecosystems, and cultures to Milwaukee all featuring changing exhibits and programs.
  • New welcome center, retail, education and research hub.
  • Farm-to-table restaurant, new events pavilion, food trucks, outdoor and indoor foodservice and family picnic spaces.
  • More pathways and access. Park-wide lighting. Improved amphitheater.
  • Clean and fresh pond, stream circulation, reflecting pool, water stewardship best practice
  • Outdoor and indoor garden and learning: health, urban agriculture, hands-on and apprenticeship programs, certification, workforce development.
  • An economic engine for the Clarke Square neighborhood, sustainable economic model. Supporting 300 quality jobs and a hub for workforce development.

The plan includes collaborating with other Milwaukee institutions. For example, in partnership with the Medical College of Wisconsin's Office for Community Engagement, the park will house a Center for Urban Ag and Health, which would bring world-class research and backyard gardens.

The plan also incorporates a wide variety of food and culinary programming like food trucks, a restaurant and a culinary arts training program.

Conceptual image of outdoor dining veranda, restaurant drop off and farm-to-table garden area

Additional park features will include a wedding garden with seating up to 300, a boathouse pavilion, children's garden that will offer hands-on activities, and an upgraded amphitheater with terrace seating for 1500 that will include a stage for music, theater, and dance.

The greenhouse will offer programming for medical and horticulture research, youth summer camps and cooking classes.

The cost for to make this happen is $66 million and it is broken up into three parts -- $13.5 million for a private-sector campaign, $13.5 million from Milwaukee County and $39 million from tax credits and Opportunity Zone Investment.

You can read the full plan over at the Milwaukee County website. The county task force meets tonight (Aug 13) at 5:30 p.m. at Journey House. If it is approved, recommendations would go to the County Board. Here is the full agenda for the meeting.

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