Mobile Effort Hopes To Save The Astrodome

The effort to save the Astrodome has hit the streets of Houston. A billboard on wheels called the "Dome Mobile" is traveling around the Bayou City as part of an effort to educate Harris County voters about the referendum on next month's ballot.

The 26-foot long paneled truck is painted blue with an orange circle and a picture of what is envisioned for the iconic structure. On the inside, visitors can learn more about the proposal to save the Dome. They can also write their favorite Astrodome memories on a large interior wall.

Rice University's Civil Engineering student Alex Weinheimer stopped by to take a look at the Dome Mobile.

"It was a very historic ballpark structure. It set all sorts of records for air conditioning, the world's first indoor stadium, and set the need for artificial turf. It was a lot of innovations involved with the building."

Voters will decide whether to approve Proposition 2, a referendum authorizing up to $217 million dollars in bonds to turn the shuttered stadium into a giant convention center and exhibition space.

While there has not been an organized effort against the ballot measure, some opponents have said that the money to refurbish the Dome could be better spent on other projects.

Beth Weidauer is with the Houston branch of the National Trust for Historical Preservation.

"I think that's one of the misconceptions that we hope to clear up. This is not county money that's available to be spent on roads or infrastructure. This is a bond referendum specifically for redevelopment of the Astrodome. So if this bond referendum is not successful, there will not be $217 million dollars floating around to be spent elsewhere."

David Bush is deputy director of Preservation Houston. He says the Dome Mobile is the highest profile effort by local and national preservation groups to convince voters to approve the referendum.

"We're trying to educate people about Proposition 2. So they know that if they vote for PropĀ 2, the Dome will be repurposed and find a new life, and if they vote against Prop 2, it will in all likelihood be demolished."

Opened in 1965, The Astrodome was the world's first multi-purpose domed stadium. Jim Donald, who backs the effort to save it, says it would be a shame to demolish the structure that served as the prototype for enclosed venues around the world.

"This is the first one. The others may want to improve it, but they're gonna learn a lot from the first one that was built. So yeah, it definitely set the standard for sure, there's no doubt about that."

The Dome Mobile will travel around Houston and Harris County between now and Election Day.

the dome mobile

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...