Astrodome Funding Plan Likely Ballot Bound
by: Pat Hernandez, August 7, 2013 5:08:00 pm
"The new dome experience" is a nearly $200 million venture to convert the Astrodome into a massive convention and exhibition space.
Harris County Judge Ed Emmett says we should know by next week whether or not the Dome plan will end up on the November ballot.
"Commissioner's Court, Tuesday August 13, will have it before them as an item that we can vote on. And if we vote to put it on the ballot as a bond proposal, it'll be on the ballot this November."
He says County budget director Bill Jackson and the public infrastructure department have been busy hammering out the cost and impact for commissioners to consider.
"We have to tell people if there's a tax increase involved, and I believe there will be. If you want to save the Astrodome for this purpose, it will cost this money much money and that will affect your tax rate this fraction of a penny, something like that. The second thing that has to happen frankly, those people who want to save the Dome have got to get behind the proposal."
Emmett says he doesn't know where commissioners stand, but has always favored repurposing the Dome.
"It's clean, it's neat, and it preserves the structure in case later on, another Commissioner's Court years from now says, 'You know what? Why don't we use it for this?' And it is a county asset, and it would be a shame to lose that county asset. So we're gonna put it to the best use."
The county has spent more than four years trying to figure out what to do with the facility that was once known as the 8th Wonder of the World.