With failure of Prop 2, fate of Astrodome still in doubt

David Delgado//The Daily Cougar

David Delgado//The Daily Cougar

Eighth Wonder of the World must be saved from demolition

The Astrodome should exist for Houston history as the Colosseum exists for Rome. The Astrodome is also known as the Eighth Wonder of the World, being the first air-conditioned domed stadium.

Harris County residents recently voted 53 to 47 percent to reject a referendum that could have saved the dome.

However, before the demolition starts, Houstonians must focus on the history that the Astrodome holds.

The Astrodome opened in 1965 and holds sentimental value, serving as the venue for Mickey Mantle’s home runs.

Furthermore, it is a place where Elvis Presley sang and where Billie Jean King took on Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes.” It was a home to the evacuees from Hurricane Katrina.

All the people who attended the Elvis Presley concerts, enjoyed Mickey Mantle’s home runs or called the Astrodome their second home should be able to come back and relive those memories — of going to a concert with family and friends, attending a game with loved ones or remembering the Astrodome as a shelter in desperate times.

The Astrodome has also been an inspiration. According to the Chronicle, the architecture of the dome was later used to build the Louisiana Superdome in the 1970s.

Yes, the cost of the demolition, which the Chronicle reports is $20 million, is far less than the cost of saving it: $217 million.

But if the Astrodome remains, imagine the tourism it can attract, and the money that will come with it.

Harris County Commissioner Steve Radack told the Chronicle that he is open for ideas and would try his best to save the Astrodome. Radack should work even harder now, since the Chronicle recently reported that Astrodome was to be considered for historic landmark status by the Houston historical commission.

The Astrodome’s demolition would not only be a loss for the Houston skyline, but for future generations, as they will not be able to experience the eighth wonder of the world.

Opinion columnist Rabia Sheikh is a political science senior and may be reached at [email protected].


Though iconic, Astrodome relic no longer fits in with ever-changing Houston cityscape

A referendum that would have authorized $217 million in bonds to renovate the Astrodome was voted down on Nov. 5. Rather than being restored into an event and convention center, Houston’s once-definitive Astrodome will likely be demolished.

Demolition isn’t a certainty, though. According to the Houston Chronicle, the fate of the Astrodome depends on legislation, like the recent development of potentially turning it into a historic landmark that would transform the stadium into something other than a rusting hulk of a once-iconic arena.

And that’s mostly what it’s become. One thing we can all agree on is that the current fate of the Astrodome isn’t something to be giddy about. However, it’s arguably the first time we’ve talked about the Astrodome in a while — other than using it as a reference point for directions to some of Houston’s currently functioning structures.

It’s tough to argue that the Astrodome has had a profound impact on Houston post-millennially, other than the continuously rich history it gives to our city. Nobody’s arguing about whether the Astrodome was once essential to our city. In the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, it was arguably the most important thing about our city — it served as the nucleus of Houston’s national prominence and was elevated to the status of “the Eighth Wonder of the World” by the media nationwide.

And now, in 2013, that once-legendary, colossal beast of innovative infrastructure has been rotting in a cement parking lot for the past 14 years. It’s a disgrace to the the Astrodome, which once did so much for our city, to be made constantly obsolete by Houston’s ever-changing skyline.

With each passing day, the Astrodome grows no less respected, but far less relevant.

Other than having housed victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Astrodome hasn’t served as more than a mammoth reminder of what once was in a city that prides itself on constant innovation and self-improvement. Turning the Astrodome into a convention center was an idea dreamed up because we’re attached to something that would cost Houston hundreds of millions of dollars to keep alive.

Had this not been the Astrodome and had somebody pitched an idea for Houston to invest $217 million into building a new event and convention center in a city that already boasts the Toyota Center and the George R. Brown Convention Center, there wouldn’t even be an argument for me to write about.

Yes, the Astrodome is a legend. Yes, the Astrodome served as a transformative tool to make Houston a nationally recognized and revered city.

And yes, the Astrodome has been taking up an immense plot of our city that could be used to make something just as revolutionary, if not more so. All that’s left to do is clear the way.

Senior staff writer Cara Smith is a communications junior and may be reached at [email protected].


  • I get the dome is historic but so were the Polo Grounds and countless other stadiums and venues that have been demolished over the years. It’s a not attracting tourist or money, it’s costing money. It’s not like the Astros won numerous world series titles in it, no superbowls were even played in it and far as Elvis playing there, really? Who cares? It’s time to let go and move forward. It stopped becoming the “eighth wonder” when New Orleans put up the Superdome. Come on Houston, it’s time we let go and move on. I remember going there with my dad as a kid, watching Nolan Ryan pitch and the killer B’s do there thing (Biggio, Bagwell and Bell), watching Ken Caminiti catch lasers down the 3rd base line and it was great. You know what’s even greater? Minute Maid Park and Reliant Stadium, the play off games in those stadiums, the Superbowl played in Reliant, the World Series in Minute Maid (as short lived as it was). Speaking of championships, we were able to let go with the Summit and if Lakewood didn’t come along and buy it, it would have been demolished (eventually) and that’s the building where many concerts took place (if that matters to you, which it doesn’t to me), as well as 2 back to back championship titles and a few NBA Finals appearances prior to that. Anyway, out with the old, in with the new, Houston has plenty to showcase and holding on to a crumbling, rat and roach infested heap of iron isn’t what we call progression.

  • Only about 13% of Voters turned out for the prop 2 vote. The remaining 87% had nothing to say on the issue. The proposal would have assessed about an $8 increase in property taxes against homes valued at $200 K or more. Here’s some more: according to City’s Planning and Development demographic
    data collection: 54% of Houston’s current householder
    population has only been here since 2005? And from a May, 2013 Houston
    Chronicle article citing data from a Houston Association of Realtors
    report, it seems that in the previous month, home sales in the
    $250,000 – $499,999 range spiked to an all time high of 49.5 percent.
    But in the 500,000 – $1 million range, the spike was even greater –an
    increased of 68.3 percent. Kinda makes you won you wonder who all those 53% of the voters who voted against Prop 2 were. I’m betting they were newcomers who have no stake in Houston’s history and no ability to wrap their brain around the idea that when a city destroys its own cultural heritage, it’s nothing to boast about, and is nothing a younger generation should be proud of.

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