A week after confusion first settled around the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation's forthcoming decision on the Astrodome -- with some alleging an unspecified plan set to befall an unsuspecting populace -- we now have a better idea of what the HCSCC is preparing to provide. Just as officials told Hair Balls on Monday, the HCSCC board produced a resolution on Wednesday that details not a specific plan but a set of dates and promises that will eventually put the Dome's future in the hands of the Harris County Commissioners Court.
As it is, rumors still swirl -- out of USC? -- about a potential future option for the Eighth Wonder. Right now, though, the HCSCC is content with giving themselves nearly two months to cobble together and vet plans both private and public to eventually push forward.
According to the paperwork passed around after today's meeting, it appears that the HCSCC has given private entities until June 10 to submit their proposals for turning the Dome into a hotel, a ski-jump facility, a coliseum of Roman re-enactors or any of the thoroughly bottom-dollar approaches those behind the plans have concocted. After conducting feasibility studies -- have to make sure the money's backing the plans -- the corporation will then pass the ideas along to the Commissioners Court for discussion at the June 25 Capital Improvements Program hearing.
If they so deem, the HCSCC "may also recommend one or more public purpose plans" to suit the Dome's transformation. While there's no guarantee that a public option will be on the table for the June 25 hearing, it seems unlikely that a site that's gained as much sense of public ownership as any building in Houston would come to a final vote without a potential for communal ownership.
Of course, all of this could end up being moot, as explained in the HCSCC resolution's final point. "If a referendum vote fails or is not ordered, the HCSCC respectfully requests that the Commissioners Court directs HCSCC to prepare a plan to decommission and subsequently demolish the Reliant Astrodome." The threat of demolition, of another patch of pavement and parking, hangs behind the forthcoming decision, whichever form it may take.
But there are a few steps, and a few weeks, remaining before this last option could come to pass. Let's start getting those ideas in. If the only way to keep the Dome from being just another flat of parking spaces is a dozen imported snow-blowers and a man dressed in a Yeti costume, so be it.
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