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Milwaukee County Officials Hope to Re-Open Show Dome in May

Big has been money lost for a Milwaukee County landmark.

"It's tens of thousands of dollars," said Domes director Sandy Folaron."Everyone is getting a refund period, regardless of whether or not they're staying."

It's been operating with a nearly $1 million budget deficit.

"If we want, in a long-term way, to commit to something like the Domes, it won't surprise you that's a lot of money," said County Executive Chris Abele. "And it's not my money, it's your money."

For now, Milwaukee County funding is available for a short-term fix to re-open the Mitchell Park Domes. The plan is to wrap the joints of the inside concrete frame with protective material.

"Right now, we're leaning toward wire mesh," said Jeremy Theis, facilities management director. "The reason for that, is we'd like to be able to see what's going on with the structure throughout this process."

County officials sent CBS 58 images of the wire mesh and wrap option. The material is designed to catch any loose concrete before it can fall, and at the same time, keeps natural light shining through.

"Our goal is to get a product that will last beyond five years," said Theis.

The Milwaukee County board has approved $500,000 to start repairs on the Show Dome first, but officials said they need more money to fix the desert and tropical domes.

"We'd be requesting $500,000 be transferred from the appropriation for contingencies to the capital project for the dome repairs," said county budget director Steve Kreklow.

There's no extra cost to taxpayers because it's money that's already there.

Abele said it'll take about six to eight weeks to complete each structure. The goal is to open the Show Dome by May 1.

The public can weigh in on the long-term future of the Mitchell Park Domes during a hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 24. It starts at 6 p.m. in the annex greenhouse.

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