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Astrodome Delay

Astrodome fate still undecided: Historical commission delays landmark vote

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The Texas Historical Commission's vote on whether to designate the Astrodome as a historical landmark was tabled at Wednesday's meeting. Photo by Jack Opatrany/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

It wasn't a landmark day for the Astrodome after all.

Efforts to designate the so-called Eighth Wonder of the World  as a "state antiquities landmark" have been delayed as the Texas Historical Commission voted Wednesday to postpone a vote on the application, which would make it more difficult to demolish the domed stadium.

 "At this point, the commission has to decide what the next step is. There is no proposal to tear it down and there is no proposal to refurbish it either." 

The commission's quarterly meeting, in which the discussion of the landmark designation took place, occurred in the West Texas town of Alpine. The commission plans to hold another meeting to decide the Astrodome's landmark status, in a location closer to Houston, although a date has not been set.

In April, the state Antiquities Advisory Board voted unanimously to forward the application to the Texas Historical Commission. Houstonians Ted Powell and Cynthia Neely, who were in Alpine for the meeting, had submitted the original application. They were accompanied by Dene Hofheinz, daughter of Astrodome creator and former Houston mayor Roy Hofheinz.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, who has openly opposed plans to demolish the Astrodome, asked for the delay to allow the county more time to figure out what to do with the existing structure. Emmett did not attend the meeting, but Edargo Colon, chairman of the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation board of directors, and deputy executive director Kevin Hoffman conveyed his sentiments. 

"At this point, the commission has to decide what the next step is," said Joe Stinebaker, director of communications for Judge Emmett. "There is no proposal to tear it down and there is no proposal to refurbish it either."

Even though the vote has been tabled, the county must get approval in order to make any alterations to the structure while the application for landmark status is under consideration. The designation of the Astrodome as a "state antiquities landmark" would not prevent its demolition, but would provide extra protection and make it more difficult for alterations to be made.

While Houston voters rejected a $217 million bond to transform the existing structure into a multipurpose special events center last year, the ultimate fate of the iconic stadium has yet to be determined.

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