The Astrodome

What’s going on with this? Isn’t it costing tax payers a lot to just sit there? Regardless of the nostalgia of older Astros fans, I think they need to raze the thing. Houstonians voted for that anyways and they ignored it. It’s no more special than the old Yankee stadium, in my opinion. Anyways, if they were to repurpose it, I would love for them to turn it into an indoor ski resort and have a place to counter the Houston summers.

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I think it is an asbestos issue. Too much …

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My recolllection was voters tuned down a plan to fund one of the
proposals for repurposing it. It was not a vote to demolish it. After that
referendum, county judge John Lindsey was working on another alternative.
Something like raising the floor and turning it into indoor parking lot plus some other stuff.
That proposal really didn’t sound very exciting to me.
And then he got blue waved in 2018 election, and thus there it sits.

I seem to recall county still owes like 60 million on the Oiler upgrades and demolition would bevin
Millions as well. So that sunk cost still exists. Personally, I would like to see it converted to
all weather indoor amusement park.

I remember it differently. I voted to demolish it and the county judge at the time (Ed Emmett?) put it onto a historical places in Texas designation (whatever it’s called) thwarting any efforts to have it demolished in the future. It went against majority of the Houstonians’ votes.

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Yeah, there is an article out there that echoes your POV.

But the vote was to spend 218 million on redevelopment. Voting against that plan,
Was not a vote to demolish.

This is what happened before that:

“This situation wasn’t in the hands of the every-day working person, in the hands of voters,” he says. “This was a decision by the county commissioners. But once the Astrodome was designated on the antiquities list, once it was preserved, they had that locked in.” - Brian T. Smith

Yeah , the judge was Ed Emmet, not Lindsay.

Anyways the confusion is best explained here:

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/05/ed-emmett-houston-astrodom-117958/

The anger seems to come from conservative Republicans in Houston’s suburbs. A conservative radio talk host rails against Emmett and his obsession with saving the Dome. The Houston Press, an alternative weekly, ran a major story: “When it comes to the Dome, Ed Emmett thinks you’re an idiot.”

Letters pour into the Houston Chronicle :

“He’s sticking us taxpayers with a bill for his free vacation in Germany.”

“When will his madness stop?”

I’m a fiscally conservative Republican. Emmett is wasting millions on his ‘pet project.’ He’s turned into an arrogant political hack who pays no attention to voters.”

“I guess Emmett learned a valuable lesson from his Democratic counterparts when he denied the results of Harris County voters on the future of the Dome.”

So much for avuncular, admired “Hunker Down Ed.”


Emmett fumes that Houstonians are buying a lot of misinformation about his new Astrodome plan, while they’re not willing to pay to save Houston’s once-defining structure.

“We are not proposing a $242 million expense of public money,” he says. “We’re talking about a public-private partnership. I would hope that only a fraction of that would be public money to build the park itself. We have an Astrodome that is fully paid for, and it would cost tens of millions of dollars to tear it down. So I’d rather spend that amount, or less, to turn it into something useful, and give it to the people who have already paid for it once.”

He is emphatic. The public did not vote to tear down the Astrodome.

”The polls that I’ve seen say people overwhelmingly support saving the Dome. They just don’t want to use their money to save it. The bond election in 2013 was poorly presented to voters. To this day, people still think they were voting for a convention center. That’s what failed. People did not vote to tear it down, that wasn’t on the ballot.”

Nonetheless, it was put up for a vote. Houstonians voted to have it torn down. They ignored that anyways. Then why have a vote? If voters votes are not taken seriously, then it’s a sham. He obviously has nostalgia for the stadium and went with that instead.

No sir, we disagree. There was never a vote, yes or no, to tear it down. The vote was to spend 200+ million of public funds to make into some sort of convention center.That was voted down.

I guess we need to see what the actual verbiage on
the ballot was, but I couldn’t locate that.

Direct quote from the 2013 article above:

Voters in Harris County were given a voice on whether to issue $217 million in bonds to transform the deteriorating structure into a mammoth exhibition and event space.

The county owns the Astrodome, and its commissioners had warned that if the measure did not pass, the only course left would be to demolish it.

The proposition was rejected by a 53%-47% vote.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett “said that with voters rejecting the only viable public option and no viable private option on the table, there’s little choice but to demolish the dome,” the judge’s spokesman, Joe Stinebaker, said.

Me: By not agreeing to their proposal, it was an agreement to let it be torn down. I wasn’t confused by this when I voted in 2013. I was fine with it being torn down. I believe that plenty of Houstonians felt the same way, including Adam Clanton who ranted about it all week on his radio show.

Well, guess it can always be put on the ballot again with 2 simple
Statements . 1) convert to xyz using funds from public/private 2)
Demolish

Based on polling data, I assumed it would pass and didn’t bother to
vote that time.

About the only thing here that comes to my mind that is similar is the old Albert Thomas
Convention center. It ended up in some sort of public+private endeavor I think and
became bayou place. Is that successful ? I really dont know. I am leery of
private + public partnerships, as I feel the public is always on the hook if the
projections are wrong.

Edit. I don’t know who Adam Clanton is. I usually just listen to all the voices in my head; and coogfans.

Adam Clanton is really irrelevant to the voting as he is a sport radiotalk show host. Lol But I only referenced him to show that this opinion was shared by many during that time.

If whoever owns it did nothing but get it in shape to host tractor pulls, monster truck, and motorcross events, it would make money.

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I love that idea, but then again I’m a NASCAR fanatic and motor racing fan in general.

The Dome doesn’t have to be upgraded too much or have a fancy set up, either. It’s just Motorsports.

Heck, I’d like to see a dirt short track in the Dome that could host World of Outlaws and that new SRX series. SRX has a deal with CBS, that brings eyeballs. Never know … could even get NASCAR to throw a truck series or better race in the dome.

It’s been done before, and the Dome would make a great winter weather, Motorsport site

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It’s not a bad idea.

Ed Emmet got that proposal added to the ballot less than two months before election day so there wouldn’t be time for an opposition group to organize. Then he spoke nonstop about how if the voters didn’t approve the spending, it would most likely be torn down. By all indications, it was a slam dunk, until election day when the voters let it be known they are sick and tired of dumping money into a dilapidated stadium.
After that, Ed Emmet pushed through a smaller amount of funding anyway, ignoring the will of the people. Ya’ll can say he got blue waved all you want, but I know a lot of people who voted against him intently because he was never going to stop shoving his dome agenda down our throat.

There was a proposal by an architecture student named Ryan Slattery that had some really good traction where they would take the dome down to basically it’s spine and create an outdoor space under it for events. It was ultimately rejected by the commissioners Court, but a lot of people liked it.

Sure, thats one way to view what happened and I
agree with a lot of what you said. A lot of voters, like
me, looked at the polling data, and decided to just not bother to vote on the “slam dunk” proposal.
Other voters decided against having a third convention facility in the county, even if it could host
a few “unique events”. And apparently you and many others who voted against the convention conversion, believed it was a demolish vote too. Again, what was the exact language on the ballot ?

FWIW, I liked the idea of stripping it down to an open air super structure. I could see all kinds of things with that. String up some zip lines around and thru the structure; bungee cord jumping from the center, etc…

Personally, I thought Emmett was overall a pretty good county judge; no doubt he had a vision of
doing something with the dome and a lot of folks dont. Thats life. Im not sure with the state designation as an historical site if it makes redevelopment , whatever idea it is, easier or harder. In the meantime the debt on the structure due to Bud Adams still has to be paid; even if demolished.
So pay off the existing debt ( somewhere between
19-60 million) , plus demo costs ( guesstimate 10 million ??? ) and have a parking lot. Kinda like what happened to Astroworld.

Complete renovation to a casino & hotel is the only answer. When will Texas legalize gambling? Can the dome even make it another 20 years without falling down?

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