Harris County judge balks at latest Astrodome plan

The Associated PressJuly 18, 2014 

— Harris County's top elected official said demolishing the Astrodome would be a "silly plan."

Judge Ed Emmett on Thursday voiced his opposition to a $66 million proposal by The Houston Texans and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo to destroy the historic stadium to make way for green space.

Emmett told members of the Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston he wants to repurpose the stadium instead, The Houston Chronicle reported (http://bit.ly/1p1Nyfs ).

"It's an asset that belongs to the taxpayers of Harris County and it would be a shame, because I know that I would wake up in retirement at my log cabin 10 or 12 years later and somebody would come forth and say 'If we just had the Astrodome,'" said Emmett, who chairs the county's governing board.

The Houston Texans and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo have been eager to free up the area now filled by the derelict dome. The stadium opened in 1965. It was vacated by the Houston Astros in 2000 and declared unsuitable for occupancy in 2009.

Plans released last week show the domed stadium replaced with a green space and an "Astrodome Hall of Fame." A proposed construction timetable ends with the 2017 Super Bowl.

"It's a silly plan," he told the newspaper after the event. "I told them: If you're going to tear it down, just tear it down. I mean, is anybody going to care this is where Harmon Killebrew hit a home run?"

Emmett has other ideas for the stadium.

"The Astrodome is the only building in the world that's 350,000 square feet of column-free space," he said. "There are a lot of creative people in the world who would love to figure out ways to use the space if we just keep it and make it an option for them."

The newspaper reports that The Rodeo declined to comment and that The Texans did not respond by press time.

Information from: Houston Chronicle, http://www.houstonchronicle.com

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