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Time for another “What to do with the Astrodome?” study

It’s been two years since we had one of these.

The Astrodome’s next incarnation — planetarium? hotel? heap of dynamited rubble? – will be the subject of yet another study ordered up by Harris County Commissioners Court this week.

What to do with the dusty 46-year-old landmark has nagged at county officials even before the Astros left for what is now Minute Maid Park in 1999. How to pay for any proposal has not been far from their minds, either. Even tearing it down would cost tens of millions of dollars.

“We have to make a decision” on the Dome, County Judge Ed Emmett said. “I wanted us to make our decision this year. They’re going to look at every option there is and come back with the recommendation. It’s about time we do that.”

The county will contribute $50,000 toward a $500,000 study, bringing to $100,000 the total the county has spent in the past two years studying what to do with the aging Houston icon.

The remaining $450,000 for the latest study will be funded by the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, Houston Texans, Harris County-Houston Sports Authority and Aramark Corp.

The study, slated for completion in December, also will plot the future of the entire Reliant Park complex, home to the long-vacant Dome, the Texans’ Reliant Stadium, Reliant Center and aging Reliant Arena.

It was almost exactly two years ago when the previous study was approved. That led to the infamous three options proposal that nobody liked. County Judge Ed Emmett said at the beginning of the year that something needs to happen, and he reiterated his call at the State of the County address. According to the story, he wants to have a bond referendum on next year’s ballot. We’ll see if this study works out any better than that last one.

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4 Comments

  1. Al Clarke says:

    Another study? I guess the results of the rpevious studies are not what those “in charge” are seeking. Time to quit with the studies and spending – actually waisting – more money. Time to tear down the Astrodome and move forward with some other form of development.
    Study after study after study has just been an enormous waste of taxpayer money, and any effort to refurbish, restore, renovate, renew the Dome will be a major boondoggle. Commissioners Court just cut county budgets for lack of money so let us do what is necessary……move forward with demolition and quit dragging our feet. Perhaps some developer and construction company has a “back door deal” for renewal.

  2. Chris says:

    Enjoyed the article. I hope you will follow the page link to take a look at a proposal I’ve been developing solo for the past two years. A couple of comments:

    Although the county is expected to release soon the results of the very expensive latest analysis, I have tried to find any online references to such an analysis without success. If anyone is conducting such a study it is being done in secret. There is a stadium development company out of the Dallas area that is listed by the county as being involved in the study but there is no reference to such a study on that company’s website. Which is odd, since the company goes to some lengths to trumpet all their onging activity.

    One proposal you did not mention is that of a group promoting the conversion of the stadium into a movie studio. This group claims–as recently as this month–to have major redevelopment funding and film production commitments from major studios. It all sounds promising, but if you check out their website presentation there seems to be only a series of high profile press releases and a suite of proposal graphics with no real content. I kind of seems that there is no there there.

    My proposal is unfunded and unaffiliated with any company or other entity; I have recently initiated contact with the Overview Institute, in order to explore collaboration, but while the founder of that group has said he is impressed with my proposal, we are at the very beginning of our communication. I have not presented my proposal to the county or to Judge Emmott, as I keep wanting to get farther along with the presentation materials. I have, however, been publishing descriptions and graphics using social media exclusively, with the objective of building support and interest among intangible stakeholders: park and green canopy activists, futurists, urban gardening groups, nasa and jpl and space entrepreneurs.

    I have the best, most comprehensive solution for the challenge of adaptive re-use of this facility, a solution that combines a new 90-acre park for a city and population that need and want more park space with a visionary destination that has the potential of bringing billions of tourist dollars into Houston and providing an unmatched marketing opportunity for the burgeoning space tourism industry.

    Chris Alexander
    Houston

  3. [...] don’t know if the study Loston cites is the same as the one ordered by Commissioners Court last year to ask once again the “what do we do with the Dome?” question or if it’s some [...]

  4. [...] is the completion of the study that was commissioned last year. You can compare it to the three options proposal from the last study. I confess, I’m a [...]

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