The flaming hot discussion surrounding Houston’s best known and most neglected landmark was re-kindled today, with Harris County Judge Ed Emmett wielding both match and poker. Speaking from within the world-famous structure, Emmett unveiled his thoughts on how to utilize the site. Here’s an excerpt from the ‘proposal’…
Harris County Judge Ed Emmett announced a proposal this afternoon to convert the Harris County Domed Stadium- known worldwide as The Astrodome- into the world’s largest indoor park and recreation center. Emmett unveiled his proposal from the floor of the Dome, which he described as a realization of Judge Roy Hofheinz’s “vision of the future”.
I believe it is time to put forth a new vision for the future of the Dome.” Emmett said. “With that in mind, I am suggesting that we explore the concept of creating an indoor park and recreation area inside the Dome for the people of Harris County.”
Kiah Collier of the Houston Chronicle attended Judge Emmet’s press conference, and has a few more details…
Among potential attractions Emmett said he could envision at the domed stadium were a large open green for festivals and other community gatherings, general exercise facilities, an amphitheater, a pavilion for music and other events, and special educational facilities for children, even museums. The Dome also could house permanent or temporary sports facilities, such as an archery range or horseshoe pits, he said.
The term envision here is especially apt, as Judge Emmett offered little in the way of monetary support or statistics for today’s press conference– only that he is exploring the idea with all stakeholders. Basically, this is nowhere near the level of an actual proposal yet. We’re still a very long way from creating a ‘Parkstrodome‘ here.
But as ideas go, this one has merit and seems well worth exploration. If Harris County could turn the Astrodome into the world’s largest indoor park, it has potential to become not only a great resource for area citizens, but a fantastic hub for tourists as well. Still, the eternal question remains… who is willing to pay for it? Will Houston-area business leaders step up to the plate the way they have done for projects like Discovery Green? For this latest idea to be feasible, that’s what it’s going to take.
Houston and Harris County have a rare opportunity with the Astrodome. It’s one of the most well-known structures in the state of Texas, and has enough historical/sentimental significance to justify virtually any public, or semi-public use we could assign to it. Though true that the Dome is currently in a rough state, there is still great potential to create a site worthy of its stature. Let’s not waste this opportunity.