Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

November 7, 2013

Despite vote, no quick demise likely for Astrodome

HOUSTON — The Houston Astrodome's obituary may have been written when voters rejected a $217 million bond proposal to renovate it, but some Harris County commissioners who will decide its ultimate fate said Wednesday it's possible that burial for the city's landmark structure is still some time away, if it comes at all.

"It's anybody's guess now," Steve Radack, one of the five members of the Harris County Commissioners Court, said.

And a quick decision or start to the demolition of the world's first air-conditioned domed stadium, dubbed the "Eighth Wonder of the World"?

"That's not going to happen," Radack said.

"We will wait to see what the consensus of Commissioners Court is before we decide what to do with the Dome," another commissioner, El Franco Lee, said.

Harris County residents voted 53 to 47 percent Tuesday to reject a referendum that would have authorized bonds to turn the former home of pro baseball's Houston Astros and pro football's Houston Oilers into a giant convention and event center.

"We can't allow the once-proud Astrodome to sit like a rusting ship in the middle of a parking lot. This was the best effort (to revamp the stadium), and voters have turned it down," Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, who chairs the county governing board, said Tuesday night as the outcome became clear. "Commissioners Court will have to make a decision on where to go from here."

The panel's next scheduled session is next week.

"Unless it's very much out of the blue, I would not expect any action," Commissioner Jack Morman said Wednesday. "But I would say in the near future, maybe in the next couple of months.

"This was the best alternative we were presented with to avoid demolition," he said. "Is there another Plan B feasible? No."

Still, he said demolition, while now the "only alternative" before the panel, may be likely but not immediate.

Studies in recent years have estimated that the cost of demolishing the Astrodome to be as much as $78 million. Radack said he understood it would cost about $20 million to fill the hole left behind.

"I think the dome has served its purpose, but I'll say this: I'm not going to support tearing it down and then covering the hole with $20 million in dirt and a parking lot," he said. "If that's all, it can just stand there."

Even while still standing, some $8 million worth of work is continuing to get rid of asbestos and remove old ticket booths and parapet-like walkways on the outside edge of the stadium.

Besides MLB and NFL games, the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was held under the 208-foot-high roof, along with concerts and other events such as the 1992 Republican National Convention.

But the Astrodome hasn't been home to a sports team since 1999 and has been closed to all events since 2009. The rodeo's home is now next door at the more modern Reliant Stadium, where the NFL's Houston Texans also play. Reliant Stadium was the site of the 2004 Super Bowl and will host the game again in 2017.

"I know we'd like to see resolution and something done before the Super Bowl in 2017, whether demolition or rehabilitation or whatever it may be," Morman said. "It's not a deal breaker."

While structurally sound, the Astrodome has fallen into disrepair. Its most prominent use in recent years was as a shelter for Louisiana residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

"Believe me, you're going to have a whole lot of people who have a lot to say how historic it is," Radack said. "The whole thing will recycle again with the same arguments that were occurring."

But he said thousands of people who have moved into the booming Houston area don't have an emotional connection to the structure, while others don't want to pay higher taxes to keep it.

"All this big attachment people claim to have, and I'm sure some do, you can see it doesn't translate into big groundswell of support," Radack said. "That's for sure."

1
Text Only
Sports
  • James_Ethan-(12)-vs.#2CC63C.jpg Back on the line

    RiverHawks’ Ethan James returns to the line healthy and ready for 2014

    RiverHawks offensive lineman Ethan James will enter the 2014 season healthy – something the team, and James, were not in 2013.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Sooners shifting several positions

    Experience comes from encountering the same things in the same ways over and over again. Oklahoma’s Geneo Grissom and Julian Wilson have that at defensive end and nickleback in bunches.
    However, both will be seeing new things when practice begins. Grissom is moving to outside linebacker. Wilson will be getting a look at cornerback as his senior season begins

    July 25, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • BobBowlsby.jpg Media Week: Change is coming

    Changes are coming to college athletics.
    That was the theme of the state of the conference speech by Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby on the first day of Big 12 Football Media Days.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Peterson.jpg Cowboy quandary: OSU defense trying to replace seven starters

    A year after the best defensive team in the Mike Gundy era, the questions now surround how those few returning starters and second-year defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer can maintain that high level of efficiency.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Really one true champion?

    I decided to spare the colleagues in front of me – and myself from making a scene – by holding back flipping my table at the Big 12 Conference Football Media Days in Dallas.
    I had become exhausted by the constant use and misrepresentation by the Big 12 with their moniker of “One True Champion.” If they are going to live with the slogan, then they need to abide by that slogan.
    Perhaps its a simple case that they are keeping constant with the poor math of the 10-team Big 12 Conference.

    July 23, 2014

  • Hill expected to be used in multiple facets

    The picture became a little clearer recently of how Big 12 Conference Newcomer of the Year Tyreek Hill will be utilized in the Oklahoma State offense.
    And the picture is rather wide.

    July 23, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • shock pic.jpg Time to rest

    Shock beats San Antonio before entering All-Star break

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • McIlroy leads, Tiger Woods in contention after 1st day at British Open

    July 18, 2014

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Press Sports Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive
Stocks