In 2018, thanks to efforts by then Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, the Harris County Commissioners court approved a $105 million project that would transform Houston’s beloved Astrodome into an event center. The project was met with praise by politicians, sports fans, and longtime locals.
Yet a year later, as CultureMap reported, that plan ended as Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo questioned if the $105 million plan, “is fiscally responsible, that it will actually, with the funds committed to it, that it will actually get us to a point where the Astrodome is self-sustaining.”
Now, a local nonprofit is launching a campaign to solicit feedback from residents on the future of the Dome. The Astrodome Conservancy is launching a spring campaign aimed at Harris County locals in effort to help determine and navigate the Dome’s future.
“Previous plans have been a product of Commissioners Court or Harris County government. We are really excited to engage with the public now,” Jackson told CultureMap news partner ABC13.
Currently, the Astrodome sits barren, used only as storage for tenants and the county at NRG Park according to Beth Wiedower Jackson, the executive director for the Astrodome Conservancy. Harris County owns the historic landmark and pays around $400,000 a year for maintenance and insurance. That adds up to less than .10 percent of the county’s $5 billion budget.
Work on the Dome has stopped, due largely to the current Hidalgo’s tepid support. But while Hidalgo has made her doubt about the Dome’s future clear, another familiar local politician has expressed support for the hallowed icon.
“I think we need to harness that same energy that created the Astrodome to begin with to rethink what the Astrodome should be in the 21st Century,” Harris Co. Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia told ABC13. “I don't think its time is up, quite honestly.”
CultureMap’s take? According to our columnist Ken Hoffman, the best bet for the Dome would be as a world-class casino, hotel, and event center.