BREAKING: Houston Texans, Rodeo Plan To Level The Astrodome

For those that were holding on to hope that the historic, iconic and uniquely Houstonian structure could be saved, this secretive deal is certainly a big blow.  Here’s the news via the Houston Chronicle

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the NFL’s Houston Texans have devised a $66 million plan to demolish the vacant Astrodome and turn the site into an outdoor green space that is reminiscent of downtown’s Discovery Green and also pays tribute to the historic stadium.

The project, titled the “Astrodome Hall of Fame,” would be completed in time for the 2017 Super Bowl at NRG Stadium, according to a 37-page proposal obtained by the Houston Chronicle.

The plan is designed to pay tribute to “the Astrodome’s history” and realize its potential as an “outdoor fulcrum” of the South Loop sports complex, according to the plan drawn up by two construction and architecture firms.

After last year’s contentious vote and with the time clock ticking closer to 2017, this news shouldn’t come as a surprise. What should we expect to happen to a building if it remains abandoned for a over a decade without any maintenance or care?

Another interesting point per above… thus far, these plans by the Texans and the Rodeo are not public knowledge were not officially released, but apparently uncovered by Chronicle reporters.  It would be interesting to know how long the organizations would be willing to hold on to them before just taking action, in hopes of avoiding a sustained public outcry.

UPDATE: This proposal has yet to be presented to Harris County Commissioner’s Court.


Julian Castro Breezes Through Senate Confirmation

The Executive Branch of the United States government will soon be embodied with the with a new, uniquely Texan perspective.  San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro has now cleared the last hurdle to joining the Cabinet of the United States.  Here’s more from the Washington Post

Julian Castro, President Obama’s pick to lead the Housing and Urban Development Department, sailed through his Senate confirmation  Wednesday with a bipartisan vote of 71-26.

His twin brother Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) and other members of the Texas congressional delegation watched the vote from the gallery.

“I’m proud of Julian and excited for our country,” Rep. Castro said in a statement after the vote.

Castro, the Latino mayor of San Antonio, had met with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in his DC office on Monday to discuss the housing market in Nevada, and on Tuesday Reid announced the Senate would vote to confirm him the next day.

It was not expected to be contentious. And it wasn’t.

Several Republicans offered Castro their blessing from the start, and his home state U.S. senator, John Cornyn, a Republican, gave him a warm introduction at his nomination hearing, saying Castro is an “example that the American dream is still very much alive.” Cornyn voted yes, while fellow Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican, voted no.

With Senate confirmation behind him, Castro again lands on the national stage, becoming one of the most high-profile Hispanic Americans in all of government.  Besides racial diversity, the geographic diversity that the South Texas Mayor brings to Obama’s cabinet may prove just as beneficial.  One look at the President’s closest confidants reveals a group largely devoid of perspectives from the Southwest of the country.

Castro’s appointment has already caused a flurry of activity in San Antonio, as various City Council members and local elected officials vie to be his successor.  As for Julian himself, some time in Washington will definitely raise his national profile, but many also fear that it could extinguish any chances of a statewide candidacy back home.  I’m not so convinced of this.  For starters, the Texas that would vote Castro into office is not the same one that is voting today.  If he were to win statewide, it’s going to take a much more expanded and engaged electorate than exists now, so he’s depending on the 2014 Democrats to help with that.  Secondly, though it seems the Lone Star State will never warm to Obama now, memories are quite short once a politician leaves office, and someone else is in their place.  As long as Castro does good work in his endeavors, the future is wide open.

Off the Kuff has more.