“From this level, we’ll go to Oilers locker room. For the most part, it’s areas that you’ve seen before.”
Light filters through the ceiling windows onto the floor of the Astrodome, with rolled up pieces of Astroturf, as well as extra stadium seats and junk that’s collected over the years.
Joining the media on the tour was Edgar Colon, the chairman of the board of the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation. He thinks the Dome, which has been empty since the late ’90s, could be salvaged for something. Right now, it costs the County between one to three million dollars a year to maintain.
“What I think is in the best interest of the taxpayers is to continue to explore all the options, in order to make a decision. The decision to bid for the Super Bowl has obviously renewed interest in what to do with the Astrodome.”
A plan has to be approved by next year before Houston’s final proposal is submitted to host the Super Bowl in 2017. Willie Loston, executive director of the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation, says he’s confident a decision will come before then.
“It certainly is a possibility that that could happen. I think that the county has taken the position that the Super Bowl is not a deadline to the county fathers. And we continue to do what we’ve done, and that’s try to come up with the best solution.”
Reporters got to tour the iconic structure after the latest study commissioned by the Houston Texans and Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo concluded it would cost $29 million to implode the Dome and build a parking lot in its place. Rodeo interim president Leroy Shafer says the study stands by itself.
“We’re saying to Harris County, here’s another option. You guys are about to have to decide what are we going to do with this thing. Well you got one option up there that’s $350 million or more. And one of the things that we keep hearing is there’s no money to do any of this stuff. Well here’s another option, and it’s fast, it’s efficient, it’s $29 million.”
He says whatever the county decides, it must not interfere with the activities of the Texans and the Rodeo. And it must be available for use by them as well. The parking lot plan, according to the study, could be completed in two and a half years.
(Photos by Jack Williams/KUHF News)