County Commissioners approve initial step in Astrodome preservation project

Harris County Domed Stadium (The Astrodome), 1960s /  Preservation Houston file

Harris County Domed Stadium (The Astrodome), 1960s / Preservation Houston file

On Sept. 27, Harris County Commissioners voted unanimously to begin a significant renovation project that should preserve the Astrodome.

Commissioners Court approved $10.5 million as the first step in a proposed $105 million plan that includes raising the Dome's floor to create two levels of parking that would allow the stadium to generate income as soon as possible. Officials believe the planned alterations will make the Astrodome suitable for festivals and conventions while preserving most of the Dome's interior volume.

About $35 million of the total project would come from the county's general fund. That is roughly the amount it would cost to demolish the Astrodome — money the county would have to spend whether it preserves the Dome or razes the stadium. Another third would come from hotel taxes, and the final third from parking revenue.

Because the Astrodome is a designated National Historic Landmark, Texas Historical Commission will have to approve any alterations to the stadium. Preservation Houston has advocated for the preservation of the iconic structure for more than 15 years and supports the county commissioners' plan for the stadium's re-use.

Preservation Houston is very grateful to County Judge Ed Emmett for developing and promoting this plan and to Harris County Commissioners for approving the proposal.