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Chron agrees that the Astrodome Park plan is silly

So there you have it.

There is something uniquely Houston about tearing down an historic structure to build a memorial commemorating the history of that very structure. But that is exactly what the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the Texans have suggested in their recent proposal for the future of the Astrodome.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett minced no words when he called it a “silly plan.”

Those two primary tenants of NRG park pitched their $66 million idea to county commissioners two weeks ago, which involves razing the Dome and replacing it with green space, including historic markers and possible event stages. It seems like a less ambitious version of the steel-skeleton idea proposed by University of Houston architecture graduate student Ryan Slattery.

We’ve previously supported the idea of turning the Dome site into something resembling a “Discovery Green – South,” but only as a last resort. This proposal falls short of that standard, lacking the ambition and easy access, not to mention funding necessary to create a park that can match Discovery Green. This plan also feels far too willing to ignore the potential that continues to exist in the Eighth Wonder of the World.

Emmett has opposed any demolition, and says that this proposal is a “nonstory.” After all, the Dome belongs to the citizens of Harris County, not a professional sports team.

But it is hard to ignore a plan sponsored by the two largest users of the NRG complex, especially given that they’ve remained generally quiet through all the past ideas, but for their own previously proposed demolition and parking lot plan.

See here for the story so far. I do think it’s a little early to completely dismiss the idea, since the Rodeo and the Texans have not said how much of the tab they would be willing to pick up and what (if any) thought has been given to programming and paying for programming. Of course, the longer we go without any word from the Texans and the Rodeo on these subjects, the more reasonable it is to view this idea through a cynical lens. As the Chron notes, the Rodeo and the Texans have made their preference for demolition clear all along. If they’re serious about this being something more than just a way to make demolition more viable, then it’s on them to spell out the details. We’re waiting.

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2 Comments

  1. Alex Colvin says:

    Actually, its very easy to ignore the call for the razing of an historical icon to be replaced by nothing. A look at their so-called proposal and one is instantly struck by the mindlessness of their so-called “case study” which compares the apples of the Astrodome to the oranges of Discovery Green, apparently oblivious to the fact that site that is now Discovery Green consisted of two large parking lots adjacent to the George R. Brown Convention Center along with a small strip of green space known as the Houston Center Gardens. There was no huge historically significant structure to be razed and hense no outcry from citizens not willing to sacrifice their cultural heritage for plaques and big screens. Its an easy sell to those who don’t keep up; not so much to those of us who do our homework. It’s better to remove the stewardship entirely from Harris County officials and the craven greed of the Texans and HLS&R folks and place it with the Texas Historical Commission who, more than any other agency is fully capable to ca retaking this magnificent structure for future generations.

  2. C.L. says:

    Alex, what a crock. This boondoggle has been sitting empty for going on 15 years, with the only tenants being mice/rats and whatever else the HLSR stored in there. It’s a big ass domed structure, the likes of which has been built before – US Capitol, the Great Stupa at Sanchi, Reichstag, etc., – what’s making this Astrodome so special ? Astros/Oilers/Gamblers/Elvis played there ? Really ?

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