Houston Matters

The Astrodome Turns 50, But Still, What Should We Do with It?

Houston Matters discusses the latest developments surrounding the Dome debate.




The Houston Astrodome officially opened 50 years ago today. Tonight, the event is being commemorated in an event at Carruth Plaza next to the now-vacant Dome. Among those participating: Preservation Houston, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, who over the last year has been trying to sell his concept to turn the Dome into the world’s largest indoor park.

A few weeks ago, the Urban Land Institute released its report, compiled at the invitation of Harris County and the NTHP. It folds Judge Emmett’s park concept in with several others for the Dome, resulting in a vision for a multi-use facility with a price tag of $242 million, which could provide a game-day experience for the Houston Texans, new space for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the Offshore Technology Conference, plus community festivals, farmers markets, movie nights, and more.

But while efforts continue to find a way to re-purpose the Astrodome, Harris County citizens have not, to date, indicated a willingness to pay for such renovations. In last fall’s Houston Public Media/KHOU poll, a majority said no to any tax dollars being spent on the Dome.