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New Astrodome Plan

Plan to demolish iconic structure has fueled opposing views on its future

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The Houston Texans and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo would love to free up the area occupied by the Astrodome, which opened in 1965 and was deemed unsuitable for occupancy in 2009. The main tenants at NRG Park came up with the $66 million dollar plan to demolish the Dome and create more green space. Following the meeting of Harris County Commissioners Court, three of the four Commissioners declined to comment on the proposal at this time. But it piqued the interest of Commissioner Jack Morman:

“This is another proposal that obviously needs to be looked at and considered, said Morman. I think anything that has the potential to save the taxpayers some money without a tax rate increase, ought to be given serious consideration, and this one’s no different.”

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett is by far the biggest elected official who wants to save the Dome:

“The irony is, the Texans and the Rodeo don’t own the Dome. They can make suggestions, but those suggestions really need to be coming through Commissioners Court, said Emmett. The fact that they went off and met with the Historical Commission, and even offered to host a meeting down here, I thought, it’s not your building!”

He adds that no where in the world is there a structure that has 350K square feet of column-free space. Commissioner Morman has heard that before:

“I think we’ve been trying to use for the biggest enclosed space in the world for about a decade now, and we’ve got no progress or no traction, said Morman. So, unless there’s some brilliant new idea ought there for a use that we can make of it, without costing the taxpayers a whole lot of money, I think we may be passed it.”

Commissioner Morman says it’s very early in the process before any vote is taken:

“We’re far away from considering formal action by Commissioners Court on this plan or any other, said Morman, but it has to go through the process, and it’ll work its way through, and if this proposal is deemed worthy of our consideration, then it’ll get to our desk.”  

And a vote by the full Commissioners Court, which is necessary before any work is done on the site. Meanwhile, Judge Emmett realizes that the latest plans are tied to the 2017 Super Bowl at NRG Stadium:

“Super Bowl was held here before, the Astrodome was there. To my knowledge, not a single person complained about the ambience of the Super Bowl because the Astrodome was there, said Emmett. “Will it have to be cleaned up and look better? Absolutely, no question.”

He says there’s plenty of time to do that before the big game.

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