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There is something uniquely Houston about tearing down a historic structure to build a memorial commemorating the history of that very structure. But that is exactly what the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the Texans have suggested in their recent proposal for the future of the Astrodome.
Harris County Judge Ed Emmett minced no words when he called it a silly plan.
Those two primary tenants of NRG park pitched their $66 million idea to county commissioners two weeks ago, which involves razing the Dome and replacing it with green space, including historic markers and possible event stages. It seems like a less ambitious version of the steel-skeleton idea proposed by University of Houston architecture graduate student Ryan Slattery.
Weve previously supported the idea of turning the Dome site into something resembling a Discovery Green - South, but only as a last resort. This proposal falls short of that standard, lacking the ambition and easy access, not to mention funding necessary to create a park that can match Discovery Green. This plan also feels far too willing to ignore the potential that continues to exist in the Eighth Wonder of the World.
Emmett has opposed any demolition, and says that this proposal is a nonstory. After all, the Dome belongs to the citizens of Harris County, not a professional sports team.
But it is hard to ignore a plan sponsored by the two largest users of the NRG complex, especially given that theyve remained generally quiet through all the past ideas, but for their own previously proposed demolition and parking lot plan.
That deafening silence was long taken as evidence that the Texans and Rodeo were playing the long game, waiting for voters to grow exhausted with the whole process until they finally throw up their hands and say: Demolish the thing, already!
Hard-working Houstonians pour years of their lives and sweat of their brows into building our city, only to see their contributions fall before the self-proclaimed progress of short-term interests. Perhaps it is an appropriate symbol of our boomtown mentality, where we drill for black gold that will be burned into nothing, used only once and then forgotten.
city should have something more than a 15-minute attention span. We cannot establish a
solid future if we consistently uproot our past. Houston must be a place that is willing
to invest in itself a vision that men like Roy Hofheinz once had. Reprinted
Editorial ~ Houston Chronicle ~ Sunday ~ July 20, 2014
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C. Dean Kring ~ Director
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