The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo released a survey it conducted with the help of the University of Houston Hobby Center for Public Policy and Rice University Baker Institute for Public Policy regarding how the public feels about the Astrodome. Not surprisingly, a good majority of them know that the Astrodome issue exists and have been paying attention to it. But, in truth, that is about the best information that can be gleaned from the survey because it doesn't really ask all the right questions.
What it does tell us is that a majority of those surveyed actually support the recently proposed initiative by the Texans and rodeo that turns the Astrodome into a wide open green space surrounded by columns taken from the Dome. This is clearly something the parties are pushing for ahead of the 2017 Super Bowl at NRG Stadium.
According to their numbers, 57.1 percent support the idea with only 17.6 percent in opposition. When put up against leaving the Dome as it is and waiting for more options, 64.8 favor the green space option over doing nothing. And to that I say, "Well, duh."
The problem with this survey is that it left off any questions that might challenge the proposal the Rodeo and Texans want, no matter what those options might be. What do people think about reducing the Astrodome to rubble and building a parking garage? What would they say if the iconic Dome roof was kept surrounded by a skeleton of the Dome as proposed by some UH architecture school alumnus (a proposal that has at least the same amount of merit as what the Texans and Rodeo are offering)? What about turning it into a convention center?
All this tells us is that the general public would prefer an open lawn in the middle of a parking lot, next to a giant football stadium, surrounded by what appear to be the ribs of ancient dinosaurs, featuring a tiny Astrodome replica inside to letting the current structure continue to rot from the inside out. What a shock!
For as long as this has been an issue, it has been clear that public would prefer almost anything to doing nothing. The Astrodome is literally our pink elephant in the room. Its corpse is lying there along Kirby with flies buzzing around it and only when the 2017 Super Bowl comes calling is a massive push made to turn it into what -- at least from renderings -- looks like a shrine to the ancient Babylonian god of domed stadiums. I'm a little surprised it doesn't include an eternal flame and a sacrificial altar.
Maybe this is the option people really want. Maybe its not. Until a survey with real alternatives is performed, we'll never know. But my guess is that these results will serve to do nothing more than further the agenda of the Texans and the Rodeo, which was probably the point of doing the survey in the first place.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.