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Belle Isle Conservatory closing for major renovations until May 2024

Posted at 10:49 AM, Nov 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-01 10:49:39-04

(WXYZ) — The popular Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory on Belle Isle will close until May 2024 for major renovations starting this month.

According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the $10 million renovations will require the closure of the conservatory and grounds, and will revitalize the upper 60 feet of the 80-foot-tall conservatory dome.

It will close Nov. 14 and the stay closed until the outdoor gardens reopen in May 2023 with the conservatory itself opening in May 2024.

Throughout the rest of the year, screws will erect scaffolding and a second floor to contain the abatement work to ensure minimal temperatures are maintained for the plant collection, and an envelope wrap will surround the exterior of the dome.

The project will start with inspecting the original steel trusses and remove lead-based paint in the dome. Original renovations started in 2019.

"Major renovations are needed to stabilize the building to keep the conservatory open for the next century," said Amanda Treadwell, urban field planner for the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. "Although construction will temporarily close this popular attraction, the scope of work is critical to the structural integrity of the dome, public safety and improved conditions for the plant collection."

The Belle Isle Aquarium will remain open Fridays through Sundays and the Piet Oudolf Garden will also stay open during park hours.