Not the whole stadium — not yet, anyway — but Mark Miller, the general manager of Reliant Park, says that all the Astrodome’s exterior features will be knocked down as early as next week. And that appears to include everything that leads right up to the Dome’s walls: Not just the ticket booths that appeared Wednesday in the Daily Demolition Report, but also the concrete stairs, ramps, grass berms, substations, and transmission lines that you can see in the photo above.
Might this seem hasty, especially since Harris County voters won’t decide for another month whether to approve that $194 million plan to trim it down and clean it up into a convention center? Miller contends that these exterior features present some safety and health issues and would need to go away anyway, since that convention center plan, if approved, calls for these very things to be removed and replaced with glass-walled entrances and a kind of peripheral tree-lined courtyard.
But what happens if the ballot measure fails? County commissioner Jack Morman and Judge Ed Emmett have expressed that a “no” vote will likely be a “death knell” for the Dome. And with these preemptive strikes on its exterior, the county would have on its hands a Dome with the even more unsightly and highly suggestive appearance of a demo site. And maybe then Cherry Demolition’s Mike Dokell, whose company appears to be in charge of this first project and who told the Houston Business Journal in 2010 that his company would “love to be part” of the Dome’s demise, would, at last, get his wish.
If you want some help visualizing the parts of the Dome that Reliant Park crews will begin removing, check out this video from the New Dome political action committee. It’s a longer version of the 30-second spot the committee put together to urge voters to get with the program and approve the ballot measure. Zoom ahead to the 2:49 mark.