The Houston Chronicle reports that the Astrodome now looks slated for demolition. The Houston Texans and the Livestock Show & Rodeo have both endorsed a $66 Million plan to level the dome and replace the space with some sort of “green space.” The plan, which I recall hearing my friend Perry Dorrell (Brains & Eggs) discuss at length in the past, demolishes all but the outside skeleton of the dome, then fills in the depression with grass. Thus, an open air structure would stand that would pay tribute to the Astrodome while requiring minimal upkeep. It is a fitting tribute to the dome, though it is significantly more expensive than just paving over it.
As the astute will surely recall, a contentious fight erupted last year when a proposition was put on the ballot to spend over $200 Million renovating the dome into a modern convention center. Texpatriate wholeheartedly supported that proposal, but it ended up failing by a few percentage points. After that, some talk has occurred over designating the structure a landmark, though it is exceedingly unlikely this would actually prevent demolition if the powers-to-be truly wished for it. In the last few months, the Editorial Board has heatedly debated the prospect of another editorial on the topic (e.g., “Tear down the Dome!” or “Not yet, a desperate plea”), but there was not enough support one way or another to write anything.
The Chronicle article continues by interviewing all five members of the Commissioner’s Court. Commissioners Jack Morman (R-Pct 2) and Steve Radack (R-Pct 3) were openly supportive of the idea, while Commissioner El Franco Lee (D-Pct 1) –the lone Democrat on the commission– was somewhat undecided. Commissioner Jack Cagle (R-Pct 4) refused comment while County Judge Ed Emmett (R) pushed hard against the proposal.
“Harris County Judge Ed Emmett has been – and remains – opposed to any plans to demolish the Astrodome. Period,” said Joe Stinebaker, a spokesperson for Emmett.
Personally, I am still very conflicted on the issue. I was a big supporter of spending all the money necessary to save the structure, but the voters have spoken. Ostensibly, the ideal solution is still to find private funding to finance the convention center remodeling, but I concede that the odds of that are doubtful at best.
That being said, this “green space” solution is exponentially better than just about any other scenario where the dome gets torn down. Razing the structure permanently deletes all the history and heritage behind the site, whereas this solution preserves the outermost facade and a chunk of our past. The Astrodome is the 8th Wonder of the World for a reason, it was a harbinger of the future of sports, and arguably the most famous building in the City.
Only a special type of idiot would dare defile themselves to fully destroy a Wonder of the World. Caligula and the Crusaders come to mind, to name a couple. Does Houston really want to join that list?
Texas Leftist has more.