Erdman To Rebuild ‘Expo Dome’ At New SR 520 Dealership
By Space Coast Daily // February 17, 2015
$10,000 Cash Reward Extended through May 31
BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA, FLORIDA – Automobile dealer Mike Erdman has announced he will rebuild the former Cocoa Expo Sports Center Dome, which vandals destroyed over the Memorial weekend last year.
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 Erdman on State Road 520, just west of Interstate 95.
Erdman has extended a $10,000 reward through May 31 that he is offering for information leading to the arrest of those who committed the crime.
Meanwhile, Erdman continues to clear the large parcel of land located next to the old Cocoa Expo, in preparation for construction of a new Erdman Cadillac/Nissan dealership.
“We are clearing and preparing the site,” said Erdman.
“This is a work in progress. We also plan to rebuild the dome that was destroyed to keep the heritage alive.”
The Brevard County Sheriffs Office is leading an ongoing investigation and continues the hunt for the vandals.
“Many concerned citizens have come forward with good information and the sheriff’s office is working on it,” said Sharon Harrell of Mike Erdman Motors.
COCOA EXPO PROPERTY ACQUIRED BY ERDMAN IN 2008
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.
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 is being developed as part of the new auto dealership.
The destroyed Dome sits on Edman’s property, and within 50 feet of the the renovated Cocoa Expo main stadium.
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 Agent Jessie Forrest at 617-7306. 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.”