Officials set deadline for all public and private proposals regarding the Astrodome's future
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The Astrodome has been sitting vacant for the last few years and now the county is deciding what to do with the aging stadium.
The Eighth Wonder of the World hasn't been used in years but taxpayers are paying a million dollars a year for it to be air conditioned. Now there is light at the end of the tunnel -- the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation has approved a June 10 deadline for all public and private proposals regarding the dome's future.
"We have had people approaching us, asking us questions and they want to sit down and talk to us about the idea, so that way we can evaluated them and make a decision," said Edgar Colon with the HCSCC.
Turning it into a parking lot has been suggested by the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo as well as the Houston Texans, who play in nearby Reliant Stadium. Their estimated cost was around $30 million and no funding source was named.
Now the Sports and Convention Corporation says it would cost more like $50 million, and says it is weighing a wide variety of ideas from turning into a plaza to preserving it.
"It is not that we are solely considering demolition of the Astrodome. We are considering that as one of the possibilities, one of the alternatives, among six, seven or eight that we are considering," Colon said.
Houstonians want to see the once-awe-inspiring Astrodome put to use, but their opinions on what to do with it are all over the map.
"Something neds to be done with the Astrodome. They need to either turn it into an apartment complex or amusement park, maybe indoor," said Van Armstrong.
Tony Box told us, "We probably need to go ahead and make it into a parking lot. It's going to cost so much to renovate, make it back into something that would be a useful building."
"It's the Eighth Wonder of the World and it should be saved," said Willie Dromgoole.
So June 10 is the deadline for submission of proposals, then the HCSCC will decide which proposals they will take to commissioners court. Commissioners have a meeting scheduled for June 25, then commissioners will have between that date and the November elections to decide what exactly will go on the ballots for voters to approve when it comes to funding.
Officials say the future of the Astrodome is important to Houston's bid for the 2017 Super Bowl. The NFL has suggested that the bid would be more attractive if the dome was blown up and replaced with a parking lot.
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