Astrodome May Have Future in Outdoor Recreation

Proposal to turn shuttered stadium into bike trails and public gardens

Dec 22, 2014
Outside Magazine
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The scourge of Houston's health codes might get traded in for a greener model.    Bukowsky18/Flickr

A group of Texas environmentalists is advocating to convert the deserted Houston Astrodome into a community green space, the Associated Press reports.

Washington, D.C.-based Urban Land Institute presented a proposal last week to turn the former baseball and football stadium—the world’s first domed sports stadium—into an outdoor recreation mecca, complete with running and bike trails, zip lines, a garden, and pavilions. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, who first proposed the idea, told the AP he believes his plan has “almost a 100 percent chance of succeeding.” ULI hasn’t offered a cost estimate, and it’s not yet known how the renovation costs would be covered.

The Astrodome was closed in 2008 after a slew of citations for code violations. Attempts to salvage the stadium have been unsuccessful. Voters narrowly rejected a 2013 referendum to convert the stadium into a convention center, largely due to a $217 billion bond price tag.

City councillors are split on the idea of simply leveling the structure, which would cost between $5 million and $80 million. Polls show that voters are generally opposed to the idea, despite health hazards in the stadium and a $2 million annual expense to maintain the venue.

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