Astrodome Added To National List Of Historic Places. But Is The Dome Still Doomed?

Houston's iconic Astrodome is now a registered landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. The designation may not be enough to save the Dome from the wrecking ball.

The Astrodome is the first domed stadium to make it on the National Park Service's list of Historic Places.

The so-called Eighth Wonder of the World has been slowly crumbling on its lot next to Reliant Stadium.

Joe Stinebaker is spokesman for Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.

He says county commissioners still have full discretion on whether to tear down the dome.

"This kind of shows the national esteem the Astrodome is held in nationwide, but as far as the practical effect, there's virtually none. It doesn't effect the county leadership's ability to act on the Astrodome however they feel they need to act, including either repurposing the dome or demolishing the dome."

Stinebaker adds that Judge Emmett is not in favor of demolition.

Beth Wiedower with the Houston office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation says although the designation doesn't offer any protection, it does trigger some financial incentives to save the dome.

"For the most part they are tax credits or tax breaks. At the federal level, that's up to 20 percent on cost invested in a historic structure and the rehabilitation of the Astrodome. And that can be a significant incentive for a private developer or partnership looking to offset some of the costs of that redevelopment."

Wiedower says if the dome does end up being demolished, it will be removed from the national register.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

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...