County Commissioners Once Again Fail to Act on the Astrodome
The Dome interior last year
Photo by Craig Hlavaty
Last August I wrote the following about the County Commissioners, their continued inability to figure out what to do about the Astrodome, and whether a plan for the future of the building should be put on the ballot:
And then when a decision needs to be made on whether to put a plan on the ballot, the commissioners will once again decide that there's no plan they like and that we're too stupid to understand what's out there and the decision will be put off another year, and then the next year the same thing will happen, and again, and again, and again.
I point this out because, on Tuesday, the County Commissioners did what they always do. They once again put off the decision.
"November is long gone, however, and there will be no vote in May either, with the deadline to present a ballot item passing today with no action from Commissioners Court," said a Houston Chronicle story (stuck behind that damn paywall). "County officials have said voters would need a say because the price tag on any renovation plan would require selling bonds."
And when it becomes time for the Commissioners to once again make a decision on what to do with the Astrodome, they're just going to punt. It's all they know how to do. They just keep punting the damn decision down to the next year. And the year after that. And so on. And so on. And so on.
University of Houston Cougars Football vs. UConn Huskies College Football
TicketsThu., Sep. 29, 11:00am
Battle of the Piney Woods: SFA vs. SHSU
TicketsSat., Oct. 1, 3:00pm
University of Houston Cougars Football vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane Football
TicketsSat., Oct. 15, 11:00am
Rice University Owls Football vs. UTSA Roadrunners Football
TicketsSat., Oct. 15, 6:00pm
Don't believe me? Well, here's one of the Commissioners opining on the topic to the Chronicle.
"We have waited for ideas for years and years on the Dome. It wouldn't surprise me if we wait years and years more before something happens," Commissioner Steve Radack said.
The excuses offered up by the likes of Radack are the same as the excuses they always offer up. The voters are too stupid to understand the issue. There's also the excuse about none of the plans being offered being any good. And there's the standard crap about taxes and the bit about the county still owing money for the Bud Adams demanded upgrades made in the late-1980s.
These seats have seen far better days
But really. Come on. How much longer does this process need to be dragged out? It's over a decade now that Reliant Stadium's been dwarfing the Dome. It's over a decade now that it's been known that something needed to be done about the Astrodome. It's been over a decade now that our brain-dead, unimaginative politicians have failed to come up with a solution.
They've paid millions to consults for crackpot ideas like casinos and hotels and indoor amusement parks and movie studios. And there's my favorite plan, which came out last year, which would turn the Dome into Reliant Arena and would turn Reliant Arena into a competitor with Toyota Center. And all of the money for these idiotic plans has been funded by Houston and Harris County taxpayers. The same taxpayers who are supposedly too stupid to understand the Astrodome situation without being properly educated by the guys on the County Court who can't find any plan they like so instead keep wasting taxpayer money for more consultants.
And while all of this happens, the Dome just rots away. The former Eighth Wonder of the World just sits and turns into a bombed-out shell only slightly resembling something that was once great.
I've made my thoughts on the Dome's future clear before. Due to the criminal neglect of those who should be protecting it, the Dome has become a disaster. It's a mess that can't be saved. It should be demolished and turned into that parking lot that everyone knows the Rodeo wants it to become.
That's not going to happen anytime soon. The Dome's just going to be left to rot. In a year or so this will once again come up before the Commissioners and they'll once again have to decide if there's a plan. And if there's a plan, they'll have to decide whether to put the plan on the ballot so that the voters can make the decision about spending the money to enact whatever the plan is. But when the issue comes up again, there's not going to be a plan because there's never a real plan, just a bunch of expensive pie-in-the-sky dreams that'll cost millions and millions of dollars.
So the Commissioners will call it an issue that's too complicated to be understood by the voters and they'll once again decide not to put anything on the ballot. They'll complain about the costs and maybe they'll decide to spend a few more millions on consultants.
And then, in about 20 or 30 years, they still won't know what to do with the Dome. But hey, a decision like this can't be rushed. Right?
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.