In 1965 when the Houston Astrodome was built, one writer called the facility the “most important, distinctive and influential stadium ever built in the United States.”
After more than 40 years of exciting fans here and abroad, the future of the iconic structure will be up to Harris County voters November 5th. They will decide whether to approve a bond proposal to spend more than $200 million dollars to refurbish the facility into what’s called the “New Dome Experience.”
Former Harris County Judge and state Sen. Jon Lindsay is co-chair of a group called the New Dome PAC.
“We have an opportunity here, to really expand what the Convention Bureau and others can do in this facility over here if we can just upgrade it and make it into a facility that can be used in the proper way. You know the expansion of OTC, there’s no question what they do there. I think the rodeo can make use of this facility in grander ways. They can move that whole carnival thing inside. It would never get rained out!”
Harris County Judge Ed Emmett says nowhere else in the world is there a facility like what is envisioned for the Astrodome.
“Once you take all the seats out, think how large of a space that’s going to be and just the opportunities it presents to bring all sorts of events, festivals. We have what 7,500 festivals every year. And a lot of them, no offense to City Hall, but they’re down there in front of City Hall. You can put those inside the Dome. They’re weather-proof and it would be a huge attraction.”
Beth Wiedauer with the National Trust for Historic Preservation says every effort should be made to preserve the Dome.
“Our coalition and our local partners, recognize the Harris County domed stadium, the Astrodome, as a nationally significant landmark. Not only for it’s architectural and engineering feats at construction, or because it was the first domed stadium in the world and set the standard for stadiums for decades to come, but also because of the tremendous cultural significance it holds for Harris County.”
Dene Hofheinz, whose father Judge Roy Hofheinz is regarded as the man responsible for the Astrodome, says she’s excited about the effort to save it.
“I really believe that our preserving and reviving and bringing the Astrodome back up to speed, and to have all generations join together to enjoy it again, is really what it’s all about.”
The effort being launched will include an 8 week publicity blitz aimed at convincing voters to usher in a new beginning for the 8th wonder of the world.
The project would increase property taxes about $8 dollars a year for the average homeowner.