Fight to revamp Astrodome officially in full swing

The push to keep the Astrodome and turn into an events center has officially begun.
September 12, 2013 2:48:04 PM PDT
In November, voters in Harris County will get the chance to decide what should be done with the Astrodome. On Thursday, the push to keep it and turn into an events center has officially begun.

The revamp project is being called "The New Dome experience." Some prominent Houstonians and Harris County politicians are getting together to build support for this project because they need voter approval to hike up some taxes so the Astrodome could be saved.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett made it clear: He's putting money into the campaign to save the dome, and he hopes the voters will agree.

"If we're going to do something with the Astrodome, we should do something useful, not just saving it for the sake of saving it," he said.

Emmett and several other major supporters unveiled a political action committee that plans to spend more than $200,000 to convince voters to approve Proposition 2 on this November's ballot. If it passes, the dome will be turned into a multipurpose special events center. The price tag is $217 million.

Dene Hofheinz, the daughter of judge Roy Hofheinz who led the effort to build the dome back in the day, believes voters will support the new proposal.

"There are people who are for, and people who are against. But I think there are more people that feel attached what this means to this community, and what it means to the country and the world," she said.

If approved, the owners of a home worth about $200,000 in Harris County will see their taxes increase by $8 a year. Construction will start right away, and the new dome will be finished before Houston hosts the next Super Bowl. If voters reject Prop 2, there is only one other alternative.

"This committee is campaigning to save it. And it's obvious that if we don't save it, it has to be torn down," Harris County Commissioner El France Lee said.

Supporters say they hope they can get some ads out there, but it depends on how much money they raise.

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