November 5. Election Day in Houston. The moment that will decide the fate of the “Eighth Wonder of the World” – the Astrodome.
An engineering marvel, the Dome was constructed in 1964 as the world’s first indoor, air conditioned stadium. Rising 18 stories under a 640-foot roof span, the domed venue was the first of its kind, setting the bar for arena design and construction for decades to come. A year after opening, it showcased the first installation of an artificial playing surface, soon to be known as Astroturf.
The Astrodome hosted a variety of sports and entertainment activities in its 40-plus year run. MLB’s Houston Astros and the NFL’s Houston Oilers both claimed it as home field. It was the backdrop for the 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match where Billy Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs, as well as for Evel Knievel’s world-record-setting jump in 1971. Countless celebrities performed there, including Judy Garland, the Supremes, Elvis, Selena, and George Strait. It even witnessed major current events: The 1992 Republican Convention was held there, and thousands of evacuees from New Orleans took refuge under its roof after Hurricane Katrina.
With such a rich history, the Astrodome has been declared eligible for the National Register of Historic Places both for its architectural and cultural significance. Yet the stadium has stood vacant for almost a decade, with no viable reuse plan in sight … until now.
Earlier this year, the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation, which manages the Astrodome and other facilities within Reliant Park, submitted its own ambitious plan – called the "New Dome Experience” – to reinvent the Astrodome as a premier special events venue. The county government added its stamp of approval and agreed to send the issue to the voters of Harris County to ultimately decide if they will support the preservation and reuse of the Dome.
Now the cultural significance and the future economic impact of a revitalized Dome rests with the voters of Harris County. Proposition 2 – on the ballot this fall in Harris County – will allow Astrodome Redevelopment Bonds to be issued to fund the reuse of the Dome. Make your voice heard. If you are a Harris County voter, commit to voting FOR Proposition 2 on November 5.
Not in Harris County? You can still pledge your support and cheer on the Astrodome here. And everyone can help us spread the word about this crucial moment.