Astrodome May Have Future in Outdoor Recreation
Proposal to turn shuttered stadium into bike trails and public gardens
Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Sign up today.
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.