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Astrodome vs the Birthplace of Johnny Cash

The Houston Astrodome is a finalist for a National Trust for Historic Preservation award. Twenty five thousand dollars will be given to the site that gets the most votes online. Bill Stamps talked with the people behind the Houston effort.


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David Bush works for the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance. They work to save all sorts of historical sites, but their latest effort is pushing the Astrodome in a contest called This Place Matters.

“There are a whole range of other properties that have been nominated. A lot of them are theaters and opera houses in smaller towns that are trying to revitalize their downtowns. The Johnny Cash birthplace is one of them. That was leading for quite awhile.”

265 historic sites were nominated. One hundred of those made the final cut to part of the challenge. Out of all the sites, Bush says the Astrodome is definitely the most recognized.

“The Astrodome is probably the best known at least worldwide. I mean definitely compared to the Wellington Ritz Theater. I mean it is definitely probably the best known and it is by far the largest project.”

Harris County leaders have yet to decide on the dome’s future and are due to make a decision sometime this year.  Although the preservation alliance supports the dome, Bush says they aren’t completely opposed to its demolition.

“It would basically be demolished for parking, so if it could be an income producing property and that’s really what we’re looking for. We’re not saying save the Astrodome for the sake of saving the Astrodome.”

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The Preservation Alliance has absolutely no say in what happens to the dome. So it’s possible the Astrodome could win the contest and county leaders could still decide to tear it down.

“The purpose of us nominating the dome was to show the level of community support for preserving it. It is really the building that gave Houston its identity. People know Houston because of the Astrodome. That building put this city on the map.”

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