Will Harris County Tear Down The Astrodome?

Now that voters have rejected a plan to re-purpose the Astrodome — Harris County Commissioners must come up with a plan for the future of the stadium. Demolition is the most likely option.

Upon hearing the results of the Astrodome vote, Houston Mayor Annise Parker optimistically called on the private sector to step in and save the "8th Wonder of the World."

Nancy Sims is a political analyst with Pierpont Communications. She says Harris County Commissioners have been shopping the Dome out to private interests for the better part of a decade.

"If someone from the private sector walked in and said I want to buy it and this is what I would do with it, I think it would make a difference. But they have offered, for multiple years now, opportunities for suggestions and ways the Dome could be rehabbed and benefit everyone and nothing has come to fruition."

The cost of tearing down the dome is estimated at about $29 million, at minimum. But the political cost of tearing down the Dome at one time could have been career-destroying.

Sims says for the first time, commissioners have a sort of green light for demolition.

"At this point, it has become a safety concern, it has become a money concern. And so action has to be taken on the Astrodome. And really they're justified in whatever direction they go, because they've asked the voters and the voters said well we're unwilling to pay extra money to save it."

Meanwhile, Harris County spends $2-3 million a year for basic maintenance of the Astrodome.

Sims says if the Dome is coming down, it will happen before Houston hosts the Super Bowl in 2017.

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Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...