Astrodome floor needs to be raised to ground level to be usable, judge says

HOUSTON – What to do with the Astrodome has been a lingering question for Harris County, but now county commissioners are taking another step forward with plans for the Dome.

Commissioners voted Tuesday to have a county engineer study the space below the Astrodome. The floor of the Dome needs to be raised to ground level in order to be usable, and doing so would create an additional 9 acres of space.

The space could be used one of two ways: for storage or for 1,200 extra parking spots.

"Parking of course would be a revenue source. Storage would also be useful to the county, and perhaps the rodeo," Judge Ed Emmett said. "But the main thing is to go ahead and take a step that says we're going to move forward with the Dome, we're going to create this 9 nine acres of space. That way the rodeo is put on notice that it's going to be there and going to be usable."

Emmett said the space would also be available for the Offshore Technology Conference, festivals and gatherings.

"If people start going in the Dome... they're going to realize that this is an asset we need to keep," Emmett said.

The cost of raising the floor to ground level is not yet known, Emmett said.

Emmett said commissioners hope to make a decision well before the county's capital improvement deadline of June 1.

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