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117 years after being built, serious repairs may be coming Manitowoc County courthouse dome

Posted at 7:34 PM, Feb 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-15 20:34:28-05

MANITOWOC (NBC 26) — A lot has changed in the 117 years since the Manitowoc County courthouse was built. One part of the building has changed very little, but upgrades may be on the way.

  • The Manitowoc County courthouse has been around for 117 years. The dome has changed little.
  • Manitowoc County Executive Bob Ziegelbauer says dome renovations could cost more than $20 million
  • Manitowoc local Charles Cantrell says the dome is a symbol of the community.

The Manitowoc County dome has stood proudly for well over a century. Now, a massive renovation may be on the way and some people here like Charles Cantrell are glad to hear it.
"It's a beacon I think,” Cantrell said. "It's a symbol, you know, and when you improve the symbol, it's proving to people that it actually does matter."

Manitowoc County Executive, Bob Ziegelbauer, says the leaking dome needs a serious renovation.

For now, he says, the project still needs to clear a few stages, including bidding.

"The project is not urgent right now, but it will become more urgent as the years go by,” Ziegelbauer said.

But urgent enough, Ziegelbauer told me, that work needs to happen by the end of the decade.

"It is leaking, and it will leak more,” says Ziegelbauer. “We can patch it up in the meantime."

A County Board vote failed to grab the support needed to approve money for repairs, which Ziegelbauer says are estimated at $21 to $26 million.

A local attorney told me that money could be used elsewhere including improved courthouse security.

But Cantrell is all for fixing the dome.

"If you're allocating funds, I think it is worth it because it needs to be kept up,” Cantrell said. “It needs to be kept up I think."

Ziegelbauer says that the dome is only one part of the project. The county has already started working on a $4 million project to implement a new HVAC system and brand new windows.

For more on the projects, click here.