HOUSTON - When Astroworld closed in 2005, Houston lost its premiere theme park. Ever since, people have been begging for another amusement park to set up shop in the Bayou City.
Could that become a reality? A few words from Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on Wednesday night sure make it sound that way.
Turner was on stage with Houston native and rapper Travis Scott at his Toyota Center concert, which showcases songs from his album named for the storied park. In video shared on social media, Turner references Scott’s childhood in Houston and praises him for keeping his hometown on the map.
“We owe so much to this guy,” Turner said.
Turner then spoke about Scott’s “Astroworld” album, which was one of the most popular albums of 2018.
“Because of him, we want to bring another amusement theme park back to the city of Houston,” Turner said before presenting Scott with a key to the city.
So, what is the chance of this happening? Well, nothing has been officially announced in Houston, but Grand Texas Theme Park is scheduled to open in New Caney, which is about a 40-minute drive north of Houston, sometime next year. It promises a water park, an adventure park, a racing park, an RV park and more.
Six Flags, which owned Astroworld when it closed, recently announced that its Wet ‘n’ Wild Splashtown water park in nearby Spring would be rebranded as Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splash Town.
Turner released a statement Thursday that read:
"It is a priority of my administration to always promote Houston as a world class city. To that end, I am proposing to create a one of a kind permanent amusement park in the City of Houston. This venue would serve as an entertainment destination for local families and attract interest from a global audience.
"I first discussed the idea a few years ago and it recently gained momentum through my conversations with Grammy-nominated performer Travis Scott, whose album and concert tour pay homage to Astroworld, Houston's former theme park.
"The City is currently in discussions with architects and developers and we hope to partner with investors who have an interest in making this vision a reality.
"Houston is a great city that offers many wonderful seasonal events and attractions. A permanent amusement park would create year-round opportunities."
While nothing is official for Houston proper, Turner’s statement sure gets the imagination stirring.
"Bring it! I'm tired of bringing the family all the way to San Antonio to visit Six Flags -- We're the fourth-largest city in the United States. We need to have an amusement park here," said Hector Garcia, a southwest Houston resident.
For die-hard Astroworld fan Donna Hesterly, hopes are sky-high.
"I'm thrilled to death that he is, and hopefully it'll be Astroworld or the same construction," she said.
After all, the park brought her family, like many others, generations of smiles.
"Of course, my kids are all grown now, but I have great-grandkids," Hesterly said.
Others were more skeptical, saying they would believe it when they see it.
"I see a lot of people... they say they're going to do certain things, but it's never a positive outcome," said Brandon Frazier, a southwest Houston resident.
Mary Benton, Turner’s press secretary, said in a tweet that the desire for another theme park in Houston is not new, but the effort will require private developers and private money.
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