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Endorsement watch: Saving the Dome

The Chronicle gives its blessing to the Astrodome renovation referendum.

There has been a lot of finger-pointing over the Astrodome’s mismanagement, but come Election Day it only matters that voters point their fingers to the ballot button and approve the $217 million bond initiative to save the Dome.

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The eyes of the nation are already upon Houston. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has just opened a field office in our city. What Victorian homes are to San Francisco, or Art Deco is to the New York City skyline, Mid-Century Modern is to Houston – and our greatest example is the Astrodome.

But in the wake of failed leadership, the Dome has been listed as one of the top 11 most endangered places in the nation. St. Louis would not tear down its Gateway Arch. Sydney would not tear down its Opera House. Houston: We should not tear down our Astrodome. We have the power to save it, not merely as a museum piece or historic memorabilia, but as a refurbished and fully functioning part of Reliant Park. And for one-third of the cost of building such a structure from the ground up.

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Preserving the Dome should be the first step of reshaping the entire Reliant Park. If this passes, we urge the county to think bigger about transforming one of world’s largest parking lots into a comprehensive expo, hotel and green space – a Discovery Green South.

Harris County’s finances are in good shape, and after years of economic doldrums, now is the time to save the Astrodome – Houston’s one famous landmark.

Until now, we’ve viewed the boondoggle of the Dome’s decline as a sort of Shakespearean drama. It looked like politicians were scheming behind the scenes, putting forward a bright face while plotting to stab the Dome in the back. It has been a tangled yarn of good and ill, but in the end, all’s well that ends well. Vote to save the Astrodome.

The Chron had previously expressed concerns that the process was rigged to set up a situation where demolition was inevitable but blame for the decision to demolish was avoided. I guess their concerns have been assuaged. There’s a PAC in place to advocate for the referendum, there’s still no visible opposition, and initial polling is favorable. If it doesn’t happen now, it was never meant to be.

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