HOUSTON (KTRK) --The plan to transform the Astrodome into an indoor park took a small step forward this morning. Harris County leaders asked their county engineer to determine whether the floor of the now defunct stadium could be raised by 30 feet to ground level.
PHOTOS: Tour of the Astrodome
Judge Ed Emmett explained raising the Astrodome's floor is crucial in plans to breathe new life into the old building. Emmett explained parking or storage options would be considered below. He said estimates suggest 1,200 parking spots could be created in the space.
"Pretty much everyone who has been looking at the Astrodome and what to do with it has come to an agreement. The floor needs to be raised up to ground level. That way, you don't have to go up and down," said Judge Emmett. "This has nothing to do with what goes on above ground level. If we can just get this underway, it sends a clear signal that the dome is going to back in a useful life."
The county engineer now must decide whether the project could be successful and how much it may cost. Eyewitness News asked Judge Emmett what would he tell the citizens of Harris County who've waited to see something done with the property.
"I'm frustrated with the time frame of it, too. I came in 2007. The plan was already in place to covert the dome into a hotel. That fell apart. Ever since, we've been trying to come up with a plan that is supported by the people. The dome belongs to the taxpayers of Harris County. We need to put it back into use. We can't just leave it there," said Judge Emmett. "If people start going into the dome ... they're going to realize this is an asset we need to keep."
A decision from the county engineer is expected no later than June.