Bid to Renovate Astrodome Fails

Harris County voters rejected a $217 million plan to renovate the aged Astrodome into a convention center, a step that might lead to transforming the "Eighth Wonder of the World" into a parking lot.

With two-thirds of 1,064 precincts counted, 53 percent of the voters opposed the project. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett conceded defeat on the referendum about 9:35 p.m.

The proposal would have transformed the lower levels of the rotting Dome into a multipurpose facility that would host trade shows, conventions and concerts.

Supporters cited "years of carefully reviewing numerous proposals"; those proposals have included transforming the edifice into a movie studio or filling it with an indoor ski slope and/or kayaking river, not to mention a lazier river for guests of a hotel that would have been build inside.

Supporters said the annual tax bill for a $200,000 home with a 20 percent homestead exemption would increase by $8 because of the project.

Some opponents didn't like the specifics of the proposed plan; others balked at the county spending money on what they considered a longshot to succeed financially in the future.

(Us? We just think it's about damn time the Dome's fate is decided, one way or the other -- even if it's this idea.)

Houstonians have long professed a love for the Astrodome, but even this awesome song could not bring about victory.

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Send your story tips to the author, Richard Connelly.

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