MANITOWOC, Wis. (NBC 26) — Towering above much of downtown Manitowoc is a decades-old stainless steel dome attached to the county's courthouse.
And County Executive Bob Ziegelbauer is working on what he calls a "once-in-century" project to preserve it.
"We can’t let the building implode because we don’t want to fix it," he said.
The Manitowoc County Board will soon vote on a proposed plan to restore the courthouse’s dome and the clearstory level around it. Also, the project would replace all of the building's exterior windows.
"We can afford it because we have good financial progress in the last ten years," Ziegelbauer said about the county debt.
The courthouse itself is 116 years old. The dome project is estimated to cost around $25-$30 million and it includes a heating and air system replacement.
"It will not disrupt any of the activity that goes down below the dome," Ziegelbauer said. "So we won’t have to reschedule any of the courts..."
According to Ziegelbauer, it would cost the average taxpayer approximately $25 to $30 per $100,000 of property value for 20 to 25 years.
District 11 County Supervisor Ryan Phipps says he’ll be voting against the project.
"My constituents are telling me that things are pretty tough right now," he said.
It’s a three-year project and construction would take about 18 months.
"Inflation’s up," Phipps said. "Utility costs are up. Fuel prices are up. And I don’t think it’s a good time to be spending more money, also increasing our debt."
The county executive says the board will be considering the dome plan later this year or early next year.
"I’m all for maintaining it," Phipps said. "I just don’t think now is the time to spend that much money."
More project information and studies are located on theManitowoc County website.