The Houston Astrodome was the first multi-purpose, air-conditioned, domed sports complex in the world, and now it faces certain doom after a proposal to renovate it was voted down in a local Houston election Tuesday.
Voters rejected a referendum that would have authorized up to $217 million in bonds to renovate the Astrodome into an event and convention center, according to USA Today Sports. The stadium, opened in 1965, was home to the Houston Colt 45’s (currently the Astros) and the Houston Oilers until the late 1990s, when it began falling into disrepair.
The ‘Dome’s future is in limbo after the vote, with demolition being the most likely option.
“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 after 53 percent voted against the referendum.
The final decision on the Astrodome’s fate will be up to the commissioners court, the group of local officials who manage the county, but preservation groups who had supported the referendum have all but admitted defeat.
“Because it sat vacant for many years, there’s been a lack of passion for it,” Beth Wiedower, senior field officer with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, said.
Wiedower said efforts to promote the referendum had reignited that passion.
“But it just wasn’t enough,” she said.