Right Field

Astrodome Down

A defeated referendum in Texas yesterday may result in the demise of the 48-year old Astrodome:

After Texas voters on Tuesday rejected a referendum that would have authorized up to $217 million in bonds to turn the Astrodome into a giant convention and event center, the stadium is likely to be demolished.

“We can’t allow the once-proud Astrodome to sit like a rusting ship in the middle of a parking lot. This was the best effort (to revamp the stadium), and voters have turned it down,” Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said. Fifty-three percent voted against the referendum.

Emmett said a final decision on what happens to the Astrodome will be up to the commissioners court, the group of local officials who manage the county. But he said the stadium’s future was pretty much sealed with the referendum’s failure. He said a decision would have to be made quickly but didn’t say exactly when that would happen.

While some supporters who attended an election watch party Tuesday evening in an exhibition hall across from the Astrodome vowed to continue fighting for the stadium, preservation groups who had championed the referendum said there was really nothing more that could be done.

“Because it sat vacant for many years, there’s been a lack of passion for it,” said Beth Wiedower, senior field officer with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, one of the groups backing the plan.

More here.

Jason Epstein is the president of Southfive Strategies, LLC. He was a public-relations consultant for the Turkish embassy in Washington from 2002 to 2007.

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