The political action committee trying to save the Astrodome officially kicked off its fundraising campaign Tuesday night. The New Dome PAC is pushing a $217 million bond issue to transform the old stadium into an events center.
“I think that Houston could be the one that's outside the box, the one that really thinks through it before deciding to tear something down,” said private donor Scott Hanson.
“For the folks in Seattle who wanted to save the Kingdome, for the folks in Detroit who wanted to save Tiger Stadium, there were no viable options,” says Beth Wiedower at the National Trust for Historical Preservation.
Still, some say Houston doesn't need another convention space.
“We argue there is a lot of need between the Offshore Technology conference, between festivals and local events,” says Wiedower.
Among those rubbing elbows with politicians and business leaders, Astros great Larry Dierker who didn't hold back his thoughts about the Astrodome.
“For some reason, somebody decided they needed to build Reliant Stadium right on top of it,” Dierker told KTRH News. “For me, the historical landmark that it clearly is, is just about ruined.”
"I don't know why they couldn't move Reliant Stadium away and let the dome have its own place,” the former pitcher and manager says. “Its the first open span building of that size on the planet, and it should be a landmark in Houston and place people would want to come and see.”
As for calls to demolish the dome?
“I wouldn't cry about it,” says Dierker. “But I think there is a better solution.”
Voters will have their say in November, but that's November.
A new poll out today, conducted by Rice University's Center of Civic Leadership shows that the fate of the Astrodome is too close to call. Forty-five percent of Harris County likely votrs support the bond to raise $217 million to convert the Astrodome.
Bond opposition was at 35 percent and 20 percent are unsure.
The poll was conducted Sept. 11-20, includded 650 Harris County residents and has a +/-3.8 percent margin.
Voters will have their say Nov. 5th.