Sadly, the Astrodome hasn't been of much use in recent years. It sits quietly in the shadow of Reliant Stadium in utter defeat. Young children who pass by likely wonder what in the heck a giant dome is doing next to the football stadium in the first place.
But, under a new proposal unveiled by county officials and complex operators on Monday, this could all change. The Astrodome, once proclaimed the "Eighth Wonder of the World," could become relevant again.
Problem is, the price isn't cheap. According to the proposal, in order to completely renovate the facility, the project will require a $1.35B tab. And, yes, taxpayers are expected to pay a third of the cost. As if the city weren't already asking for money in order to build new stadiums... now it's asking us to help fix an old one.
Sarah Portlock of the Associated Press writes:
The $1.35 billion plan, which Miller called a "dream property" named Astrodome Renaissance, would include a science center, conference center, planetarium and county and city museum. A hotel would be privately financed along with the possibility of a movie studio.
An intermediate plan, at $1.13 billion, would be to "repurpose" the dome, make it a science and technology center and a place for storage.
Miller wants to add a 10,000-seat arena, exhibition space, a garage and other meeting space connected by skywalks to any renovation plan.
By comparison, Minute Maid Park cost $250-million to build.
The Astrodome has been around since 1965, when the Astros took on Mickey Mantle and the New York Yankees. Currently, the facility costs Harris County officials $2 million per year in insurance and minimal maintenance. It also costs millions more in debt and interest payments as a result of Bud Adams' moving of the Houston Oilers to Tennessee in the 90s.
Hopefully, the city will find a way to preserve the dome. But at what cost? Quite a lot, apparently.