Who Destroyed the Cocoa Expo Dome? Reward Offer Extended
By Space Coast Daily // July 5, 2014
$10,000 REWARD OFFER EXTENDED THROUGH JULY
Dome Frame Sits On Property Now Owned By Automobile Dealer Mike Erdman
BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA, FLORIDA – Mike Erdman has extended his offer of a $10,000 reward through the end of July for information leading to the arrest of the vandals who destroyed the former Cocoa Expo Sports Center Dome over the Memorial weekend.
The iconic landmark was destroyed after vandals drove a piece of heavy machinery into the frame of the Dome, which sits on property now owned by automobile dealer Mike Erdman.
The Cocoa Expo Sports Center was originally built in 1964 by the city of Cocoa as the spring training home for Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros (then the Colt 45′s). It was acquired by the late Richard Stottler in the early 1980s and developed into one of the best high school and college spring training destination in America for more than 25 years.
COCOA EXPO PROPERTY ACQUIRED BY ERDMAN IN 2008
The Dome, and approximately 13 acres of Cocoa Expo property, were sold to Erdman in 2008 for about $3.5 million by Cocoa Expo Inc., and has been sitting dormant since that time.
In addition to the property acquired from Cocoa Expo, Inc., Erdman had earlier purchased a contiguous 12-acre parcel, which the auto dealer will ultimately develop as a new site for an auto dealership.
The destroyed Dome sits on Edman’s property, and within 50 feet of the the renovated Cocoa Expo main stadium.
In addition to renovating the main stadium, construction at the Cocoa Expo, located on approximately 48 acres at 500 Friday Road in Cocoa, includes redeveloping a multi-purpose gym, upgrading additional baseball fields, creation of parking lots and renovating a dormitory.
Cocoa Expo owner Jeff Unnerstall’s upgrade of the Cocoa Expo facility has been plagued by zoning and permit restrictions since it began in 2011, and an investigation was launched in July 2012 by water management district officials following complaints that workers at the facility destroyed wetlands by filling them in.
FOUR OF EIGHT LEGS DESTROYED: ‘Whoever Destroyed It Must Have Been Experienced With Machines’
According to Kelly Brabbs, service director of Mike Erdman Cadillac Nissan, four of the Dome’s eight supporting legs were destroyed.
“Whoever destroyed it must have been experienced with machines,” Brabbs said.
“They figured out how to turn it on and override an alarm. Whoever did this was very selfish and they destroyed a historical landmark that was a home to a lot of great memories. It was an iconic type of structure. We had several conversations about turning it into a waiting area for customers.”
If you have information about the crime, call Sharon at Mike Erdman Cadillac/Nissan at 321-453-2050, or the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office at 321-633-7162. You can also call CRIMELINE at 1-800-TIPS (8477). All calls are confidential as you can remain anonymous.
DOME ORIGINALLY PART OF ‘CIRCUS WORLD’
The dome structure was originally built at the Cocoa Expo location in 1984 after it had been purchased, dismantled and transferred from the since closed “Circus World” attraction near Orlando to Cocoa Expo.
The structure was approximately 35 feet tall and covered an area of approximately 10,000 square feet.
Each of the structure’s steel supports were buried in 8-foot deep concrete footers and were also anchored with high-tensile steels cables, due to the unusual nature of the construction.
For many years, the dome had a well-recognizable yellow canvas cover at the Cocoa Expo and it was used for a wide variety of events including batting tunnels, concerts, shows and meetings.
The Vans Warped Tour and many other events were successfully staged under the then “yellow dome.”