Harris County voters can expect a big blitz to save the Astrodome between now and Election Day. A new political action committee called The New Dome PAC has been formed to push for a plan that would turn the historic stadium into a modern, multipurpose events center. The project dubbed the "New Dome Experience" would cost an estimated $217 million and mean an increase of about eight dollars per year in property tax for the average Harris County property owner. "This is not just about saving the dome," says Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. "This is about preserving an asset for the future." Emmett is a supporter of the project, which will go before Harris County voters on November 5th.
Other supporters of the New Dome PAC include Dene Hofheinz, daughter of former County Judge and Houston Mayor Roy Hofheinz who led the original development of the Astrodome, as well as members of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Preservation Houston. Judge Emmett says that theme of preservation is an important part of this plan. "In the meantime, we need to make sure that it pays for itself and that it's an attractive venue that can bring people from all over the world, and I think that's what we're putting before the voters on November 5th."
The New Dome PAC hopes to raise $250,000 for a TV and radio ad campaign to promote the project. Harris County Commissioner El Franco Lee is also a supporter of the PAC, and he says this is the only option for those who want to keep the dome. "This committee is campaigning to save (the dome), and it's obvious if we don't save it then it has to be torn down." One way or another, the future of the Astrodome will be set after voters head to the polls this fall.