As many of you may have heard by now, Tuesday afternoon was an opportunity for the media to take a tour of the Astrodome. It was an opportunity that I for one, was not going to pass up, and I’m sure glad I didn’t.
Walking inside, I was reminded of the many games and events that I attended there as a kid. Some of my most memorable moments as a kid going to the dome was seeing the Rolling Stones concert I think in 1995, when I was in 6th grade. Also The many Oilers and Astro games I took in as well stuck out to me. One Astro game I remember the best though, the 1997 Division Championship game there, when they beat the Cubs 9-1. Biggio, Bagwell, Hampton riding around on Harley’s and smoking cigars, drinking champagne after their victory.
I’m sure many of you have a lot of fond memories as well. However, soon it appears it will time for you to decide that if keeping the dome around will enhance those fond memories while it drains tax payers pockets to the tune of around $3 million a year for maintenance or tearing it down and doing something constructive and financially sound with the site.
The Chairman of the Harris County sports and convention corporation, Edgardo Colon joined us on the “Odd Couple Show” last night and discussed 4 options that are currently being considered for the Astrodome.
1) Involves keeping it as is. Doing nothing. This will cost Houston more than $2 million a year in maintenance.
2) Cover the footprint of the Astrodome with a green space plaza. This will be costly, to the tune of around $84 million. County officials say the dome cannot be imploded as easily as some say it should because of potential damage it could do to the surrounding Reliant facilities.
3) Gutting the dome and leave the shell. This option would include construction of a technology center and planetarium inside the dome. The roof would be covered with solar panels that look like a map of the world when viewed from above. The estimated cost for this option would be around $324 million, including about $43 million in old dome bond payments.
4) The most expensive plan, which is an estimated cost of around $324 million from tax payers and about $264 million from private sources. This plan would include basically everything from the 3rd option, but private investors would be invited to build everything from an alternative energy center to a movie studio.
A report is expected to be completed in a matter of weeks. At that time, the sports and convention corporation will make a recommendation to the County commissioners court, which will then decide upon an option for the future of the Astrodome.
According to Edgardo Colon, these four options, or the ones the commissioners court will be recommended, will at some point be put up to voters to decide what should be done.
Will keeping the dome around as is help save the great memories you once had inside the Astrodome? Will putting the land and/pr site to good use make you feel better about it?
What do you think should be done with the Astrodome?