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Keep Houston Press Free
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Ed Emmett: Keep the Dome, But Make a Decision

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett became the latest in a series of local elected officials delivering dire economic news, in his State of the County speech today.

Cuts are coming, and the county will be searching for ways to get by with less, he said.

But Emmett also touched on the Great White Elephant of Houston, the Astrodome.

It sits empty and unused, soaking up county money for insurance and maintenance, but for years no politician has been able to fight nostalgia and call for the damn thing to be torn down.

Emmett certainly didn't call for demolition, either.

"I believe we owe it to future generations to preserve the Dome as a gathering place for special events, such as festivals," he said.

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What? No movie studio? No planetarium? No shoot-and-eat wild game park?

Emmett says the situation should be studied, with plenty of citizen input and cooperation between government agencies, which isn't exactly a bold stand, and is pretty much code for "status quo."

But it's clear he wants to keep the building.

"Every time I drive by the corner of Main and Holcombe," he told the crowd at the Hilton Americas, "I shake my head in wonder that the Shamrock Hotel is no longer there. I hope not to do the same as an old man at the spot where the Astrodome once stood."

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