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Here comes the Dome renovation committee

I was wondering when we’d see this.

Reliant Park and Harris County officials on Thursday announced the launch of a campaign to garner voter support for a plan to redevelop the Astrodome, with Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and Precinct 1 Commissioner El Franco Lee each pledging $5,000 to the effort.

A referendum to fund the project will appear on the ballot this November. If approved, the county would issue up to $217 million in bonds to turn the now-vacant stadium into “The New Dome Experience,” an energy-efficient event center flanked by an “inviting” outdoor green space.

Dene Hofheinz, daughter of the late Roy Hofheinz, who is credited with building the world’s first domed super stadium – dubbed “the eighth wonder of the world” when it opened in 1965 – also pledged a donation during a news conference at Reliant Center.

The campaign political action committee is being co-chaired by former Harris County judges Jon Lindsay and Robert Eckels and former Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President Irma Diaz Gonzalez.

Lindsay, who has been a vocal advocate for preserving the iconic structure, said the committee hopes to raise $250,000 from private individuals.

“We know, mostly, where we can get the money, and we’ll just see how it comes in,” Lindsay said. “The campaign is really focusing on that this is a special event center that will bring in major functions.”

Officials from Harris County, which owns the Dome and Reliant Park, and the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation, the agency that oversees the complex and conceived the renovation plan, will drive the campaign, along with a coalition of local and national historic preservation groups keen on saving the structure.

See here for the previous update. I’d say the group’s first order of business is to give themselves a name, and after that it would be nice if they’d at least put up a Facebook page. The story notes that the annual Offshore Technology Conference has committed to using the renovated Dome, so that’s one more thing for the committee to tout in its sales pitch. Also of interest is the lack of a mention of any anti-referendum group so far. The lack of any organized opposition will make the committee’s job easier. But please, name yourselves. That will make my job easier.

On a tangential note, Hair Balls had two posts last week reviewing the history of stadium-building in Harris County, and Swamplot pointed to this call by The Architect’s Newspaper for some bolder thinking on how to re-do the Dome. Check ‘em out.

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