Video: Judge’s New Astrodome Vision Is World’s Largest Indoor Park

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett wants to turn the Astrodome into the world’s largest indoor park.

Watch the video and take a behind the scene look at the Astrodome as it stands today. During Tuesday’s press conference, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said, “A climate-controlled park will put us back on the world’s stage again.”


Harris County Judge Ed Emmett says it wasn’t that long ago that he came up with an idea on what to do with the Houston Astrodome.

“I go on morning walks, and one morning it just kind of hit me that you know, maybe it’d be good to be able to walk indoors,” said Emmett. “And then one thing led to another, and you start thinking about…”

An idea that would include spaces for festivals and other gatherings.

At a news conference, Emmett says the facility belongs to Harris County taxpayers.

“Our decision must be in the best interest of those taxpayers, and it must be part of an overall plan to enhance the entire complex for the use of current and future tenants,” said Emmett.

Rather than converting the Dome into something it was never intended to be, Emmett says it’s time to go back to the original vision of Judge Roy Hofheinz, the man responsible for the Dome.

“His vision was to provide a place for traditional outdoor activities, in a climate-controlled space, a space like non other in the world,” said Emmett. “With that in mind, I am suggesting that we explore the concept of creating an indoor park and recreation area inside the Dome for the people of Harris County. The world’s largest indoor park.”

It would include spaces for festivals and other gatherings, as well as hiking, biking and fitness trails on the upper levels.

Emmett also proposed having a music venue like an amphitheater, and sporting facilities like an archery range and horseshoe pits.

Dene Hofheinz says her father would be proudof the plan to repurpose the iconic structure.

“I was just absolutely thrilled,” said Hofheinz. “It’s creative, and it’s something that families and people and friends can do together, and it’s healthy and it’s all good. And to be entertained — there are so many things that can happen here now.”

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, along with the Texans, have proposed demolishing the Dome and replacing it with an outdoor public space. They also released a poll that found a vast majority of residents support their idea.

In a statement, Rodeo officials said they have received only a preliminary concept for repurposing the Astrodome into an air conditioned indoor park. They look forward to evaluating the proposal when they are presented with more details.

Plans for Judge Emmett’s vision for the Astrodome are now being finalized, which would include financing the proposal. Previously, he said the changes would be funded through a public-private partnership.


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