So now that we have the shiny and new Reliant Stadium for football, the Rodeo, and presumably monster truck rallies, what shall we do with the erstwhile Eighth Wonder of the World, the Astrodome? Well, State Rep. Ron Wilson has an idea: Turn it into a casino. All you need is a new state law, local voter approval, cooperation from the Commissioner's Court, and $25 mil or so in development costs. Piece of cake.
County Judge Robert Eckels just chuckles, asking if "all the silliness" in Austin is to celebrate the upcoming holidays.
He said gambling would create a net loss for Houston, not a gain as it drains local dollars that would have been spent on other entertainment.
Eckels dismisses the dream that turning the Astrodome into a giant roulette wheel somehow will draw out-of-state visitors to Houston.
He argued that, bad budget times or not, Texas should have learned its lesson that the lottery wouldn't solve all money problems forever, and pari-mutual horse racing is more a disappointment than a panacea.
"I would hope we can find a better use for the Astrodome," Eckels said. "I certainly question the viability of a casino in the Houston market, and beyond that, the benefit of casino gambling for Texas."
I, of course, would like to see it turned into a rail depot, where the current downtown line would meet up with a line that follows US 90 to Sugar Land and maybe a line that goes along Loop 610. The casino is more likely to happen, but if Ron Wilson can dream big, then so can I.
UPDATE: Larry has some advice for Rep. Wilson.Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 21, 2002 to Elsewhere in Houston | TrackBack