More Houston Astrodome seats may be sold to fans, as Harris County continues to clear the Astrodome decks while another renovation plan is worked out.
The first sale of Astrodome memorabilia -- seats, field equipment, groundskeeper astronaut helmets -- yielded a profit of approximately $650,000 for the county, and with roughly 4,000 seats still in storage, the county is looking at a second sale. The seats are pretty distinctive -- they bear the iconic Texas silhouette -- and sold out during the first sale. One big issue: whether the process of granting the Astrodome landmark status prevents the county from selling the seats. From the Houston Chronicle:
Under state law, the owner of a building under consideration for so-called "state antiquities landmark" status cannot make significant alterations to the structure during the application process, or after designation, without permission from the panel.
For now, following permission from Commissioners Court this week, the sports corporation is planning to put the net proceeds from last year's sales toward the "general upkeep" of the dome and surrounding grounds. That may include pressure washing the structure.
[Harris County Sports and Convention Corp. deputy executive director of the sports corporation] Hoffman said the funds will go primarily toward cleaning up the site after crews demolished four exterior walkway towers and removed ticket booths, among $8 million worth of work Commissioners Court approved last August, the same day it decided to place a $217 million bond on the November ballot to turn the dome into an event center, saying it was work that needed to be done whether the structure was revamped or torn down. Asbestos abatement is ongoing.
The Houston Texans (NFL) and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo recently proposed tearing down the Astrodome and turning the site to a green space/Astrodome remembrance/group space, but county officials say they're preparing another reuse plan for the historic facility. The iconic Astrodome, the first covered ballpark in Major League Baseball, has been mostly unoccupied since the Houston Astros moved to Minute Maid Park in 2000. Last year Harris County voters rejected a $217-million bonding proposal that would have turned the venerable stadium, which opened in 1965, into a convention center and more modest sports facility.
RELATED STORIES: Astrodome demolition proposed by Texans, rodeo; Astrodome awarded historic designation -- but it probably won't change anything; Astrodome renovation plan shot down by voters; Fate of Astrodome again under debate in Houston; Future of Astrodome: Three scenarios; Astros turn back the clock this season to mark Astrodome opening; Is Houston angling to close Astrodome?
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