DEVELOPMENT Group launches public feedback campaign onAstrodome plans
Residents can sign up to share ideas on the future of the Astrodome at www.astrodomeconservancy.org
BY SHAWN ARRAJJ
the group does have an agreement with the Harris County Sports and Convention Corp. to work on the future development of the Astrodome, Wiedower Jackson said. A $105 million plan to renovate the Astrodome championed by former Harris County Judge Ed Emmett fell by the wayside after Lina Hidalgo took over as county judge in 2019. Hidalgo has since raised questions about the use of taxpayer dollars on a plan that did not involve public input. Wiedower Jackson said the con- servancy has worked with Hidalgo and county commissioners on how to proceed. “What we learned during that process was that, to date, the plans for the Astrodome put forth have been created kind of around the kitchen table,” she said. “There has yet to be an opportunity for the general public in Harris County—the taxpayers who
After a 2016 attempt to revive the Houston Astrodome for $105 million failed to launch, ocials are moving forward with a new eort to once again turn the vacant structure into something useful for Houston resi- dents. This time, ocials are seeking input from the public rst. The Astrodome Conservancy—a private nonprot formed in 2016 with the goal of redeveloping the dome— embarked on a public engagement campaign in April to solicit feedback on what the dome should become, Executive Director BethWiedower Jackson said. “This is in an opportunity to think holistically—how can we be smarter, greener [and] more creative around the reuse and redevelopment of the Astrodome,” she said. The conservancy is not a branch of Harris County government, but
Members of the public gather for a tour of the Houston Astrodome in 2018. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
own that structure—to have a say or have their opinions voiced through a process.” The conservancy raised about $90,000 in private donations in 2020, which helped it bring the consulting and engineering rmHuitt-Zollars on board to craft the public engagement process, Wiedower Jackson said. Throughout the campaign, which will run for a six- to eight-week period, people can submit feedback through online surveys at www.astrodomecon- servancy.org. A virtual opinion session is also to be announced.
Some constraints have been identied that are intended to keep the cost of the project in check and to take contractual obligations into account, Wiedower Jackson said. “There are some wonderful pie-in- the-sky ideas, but they are not possible because of the limitations on the Astrodome,” Wiedower Jackson said. Following the campaign, Wiedower Jackson said the conservancy will spend two to three months turning the feedback into a vision for the Astro- dome that can eventually be presented to commissioners.
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