The Albert Kahn-designed Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory on Belle Isle will undergo $1.9 million in renovations starting in October, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. This will mean that part of the popular attraction will be closed for about six months.
The DNR states that structural work will start on the dome October 1. From October to April, the show house and the north and south wings will be open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors will be able to gain access through the lily pond, and special events are on hold until May 2019. Much of the dome itself—which has majestic palm trees—will be closed to visitors.
The work includes the replacement of steel trusses that support the dome, work that was determined from a 2017 engineering study. This first phase of work will take on the lower part of the dome, while fundraising continues for the upper portion.
This replacement is funded largely through a $1 million grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, matched with $900,000 of DNR parks and recreation capital infrastructure funds.
It was recently announced that the James Scott Fountain will also undergo extensive renovations, funded through support from the Grand Prix. A new garden from famed designer Piet Oudolf is also planned for the island park.