Does 2017 Super Bowl Force Dome Action?

Once Upon a Time, she was was known to one and all as the Eighth Wonder of the World.

Once Upon a Time, she was known to one and all as the Eighth Wonder of the World.

OK. let’s see here. Houston just got awarded the 2017 Super Bowl – and the decision comes in the middle of renewed hot air talk about various futures for that all but abandoned structure to the 1000 feet-immediate east of Reliant Stadium, the home again host of the projected 51st NFL championship game. That other structure, of course, is today a mere ghost of what it once proudly represented itself to be as “The Astrodome: Eighth Wonder of the World.”

Wonder no more.

For developers, the Astrodome today is little more than an ugly spot on the landscape that needs to be torn down as room for a larger Reliant Complex parking lot. For preservationists, the Dome is a place of significant history to both the City of Houston and the world of architecture. They argue that the place needs to be converted to another purpose, but a myriad of their ideas all share a common foundation. They come to light without the massive funding that will be required to get their various plans off the ground. Hence, the earlier “hot air” reference.

Many long-time Houstonians grew up going to Astros and Oilers games at the Astrodome. They feel sad and sentimental about the decline of the old place, often expressing baleful wishes that something needs to be done to save the world’s first domed multi-purpose sports and major event center from the wrecking ball. Unfortunately, the most passionate preservationists seldom have the money needed to do anything personally about expensive problems like the Astrodome.

Two or three months ago, the word was out that Houston might have to tear the Astrodome down and turn it into that parking lot just to have a chance at getting the 2017 Super Bowl award. So, if that were true, what does it say that the Old Folks Dome still sits to the east, blocking the sunrise over Reliant every morning, even though Houston got the Super Bowl bid, anyway?

Was some kind of deal about the Dome reached that we don’t know about? Even if it was not, does the coming Super Bowl now put pressure upon Harris County to make a decision and actually find the money for either the restoration or demolition of the Astrodome by 2017?

What do you think? Will the 2017 Super Bowl force local action on the future of the Astrodome? Or will it just be sitting darkly there, pretty much as it appears in this photo, no business as usual, when the 2017 Super Bowl comes to town?

Please post your ideas here as comments on this story.


6 Responses to “Does 2017 Super Bowl Force Dome Action?”

  1. Bob Hulsey Says:

    Like most, I want it preserved and reused as whatever it can be salvaged as – movie studio, hotel/condo, sports and space museum, casino, greenhouse, whatever. Just buy it and fix it up and (hopefully) set aside some room to showcase some Astrodome momentos for tourists to enjoy.

    But if it must be torn down, let’s forgo about four parking spots to build a shrunken replica of the dome over where the pitchers mound stood with a plaque commemorating what used to be there. I think that’s the very least that ought to be done.

  2. Greg Lucas Says:

    Sadly, I think the Dome is done. With a deadline and no money from those with the ideas for saving it the easiest thing for politicos-at the urging of the football team and rodeo- is to tear it down. Never mind that the same millions of dollars that destruction will cost could have also been diverted toward making it usable again. The Texans and Rodeo don’t want to try to figure out what use it could have–either in reality or historically. It just gets in their way.

    They don’t use Constitution Hall in Philadelphia for anything anymore except tours. Its on prime real estate. The Alamo grounds no doubt hamper the downtown development in San Antonio. Those old churches and graveyards in downtown Boston are certainly inconvenient for business. But Houston is a forward thinking city. A lot of folks like the departed President of the Astros who don’t care about the past. We are always looking ahead. History? Who cares! What’s in it for me?

    The Astrodome was the first indoor stadium in the world? I didn’t know that. There are so many of them now. It is still known world wide as a symbol of Houston? I’ll be darned. Oh well, let’s get that wrecking ball in here. We really need to get the pavement laid for the new parking lot. Never can have enough of those.

    So Houston become known for parking lots? No building is safe from the wrecking ball if a parking lot can be built. The parking lot capital of the nation! Yeah, thats the ticket. Its so 21st century. The Astrodome was old hat. It wasn’t new. Who cares what it represents. Who needs it?

    Now on a more serious note HERE is what could be done with the dome and it would benefit the rodeo and keep the grounds active more than just a few Sundays the rest of the year.

    Put an amusement park within the walls. The park would be in operation all year and would also serve as the amusement area for the rodeo. It would be under the dome and thus usable in all weather. Only the Dome superstructure would remain. The interior would be gutted to make space. There would be enough room to make a full modern park totally indoors. Not only would the Dome live again, it would again be the 8th Wonder of the World…the first totally inclosed and air conditioned (Six Flags-like) amusement park in the world.

    With the demise of Six Flags years ago Houston has nothing like it ilnside or out. The operation would run year long with a contract that would give the Rodeo during its run special considerations (money–as currently generated by the operations that squat on the land during the rodeo now.)

    Just a thought…but likely far to grandiose to be considered before the county gives in to the Texans and Rodeo and simply calls in the demolition crews.

  3. bob copus Says:

    If it will be demolished, maybe they would consider leaving the support structure (steel columns and beams) in place? However, the issue I see with that is a safety hazard in years to come due to weathering. You are more than welcome to post the photos I supplied to you Bill.

  4. Anthony Cavender Says:

    The issue may require a vote by the public..which would be interesting.

  5. Darrell Pittman Says:

    Weren’t Jim Umbricht’s ashes spread over the Astrodome construction site by his brother from a private plane?

  6. Bob Green Says:

    I was present at all but 3, count em, 3 Home Astros game at the Dome. It was unique,spellbinding,mysterious, but like all things in this disposable world it’s fate is probably sealed. To hell wth uncommon visionaries like Hofheinz (like him or not)……What a pity.

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