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Milwaukee’s Mitchell Park Domes are on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of “America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.”
Each year, the trust unveils a list spotlighting important examples of the nation’s architectural and cultural heritage that are at risk of destruction or irreparable damage.
More than 270 sites have been on the list over its 29-year history, but the designation appears to help protect the sites. In 29 years, fewer than 5 percent of listed sites have been lost.
The trust said its latest list includes historic places in urban areas “at a time when cities across the nation are experiencing a resurgence.”
Millions of Americans are choosing to relocate to urban areas, with many opting to live in distinctive, character-rich older and historic neighborhoods. Preservation in these neighborhoods is playing a key role in this trend of “reurbanism.”
So, with its 2016 list, the trust is highlighting the importance of adaptability and preservation of historic buildings.
A look at the 11 sites and what the trust has to say about them:
“For nearly 30 years, our list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places has called attention to threatened one-of-a-kind treasures throughout the nation and galvanized local communities to help save them,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “This year’s list elevates important threatened historic places in our nation’s cities at a time when more than 80 percent of Americans live in urban areas.”
She continued, “We know that preservation is an essential part of the current urban renaissance and that old buildings contribute to the sustainability and walkability of our communities. Historic buildings are also powerful economic engines that spur revitalization, meet a broad range of human needs and enhance the quality of life for us all. With thoughtful and creative policy approaches and tools, we can tap the full potential of these important places and secure a foundation for a stronger and more vibrant future.”
The Mitchell Park Domes Task Force was to meet for the first time on Oct. 12 to discuss the future of the structures.
The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors established the 11-member task force to develop a comprehensive long-term plan for the domes.
The task force is chaired by William H. Lynch, a local attorney, and includes County Board Supervisors Peggy A. West, in whose district the Domes are located, and Jason Haas, chair of the County Board’s Parks Committee.
The task force also includes John Dargle, director of the Milwaukee County Parks Department, and several representatives from community organizations.
The domes were closed earlier this year due to concerns about the potential of crumbling concrete to create a safety hazard for visitors, according to a news release that announced the task force meeting.