Well, today is the day, the last day for private groups to submit proposals (with funding attached) to the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation regarding what to do with the Astrodome. As you might imagine, there is no shortage of opinions regarding the Dome's future and the staff at ChronBlog (predictably) has weighed in suggesting that the only solution is a rather large taxpayer outlay, an outlay, if recent reports are to be believed, would add to an already troublesome problem.
Never mind the cost of renovating the place, there are several hurdles which make any private concern difficult at best.
First, there's what's best described as existing "non-compete" clauses with both the Texans and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. I understand that Bob McNair is a community-minded individual, and by all accounts a pretty nice guy, but why would he be willing to green-light a project that might interfere with Texans game-day operations?
Then there's the fact that the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, despite public perception, is NOT as community minded as is Mr. McNair. There's no way they're going to green-light something that interferes with their gravy-train (have you seen their offices?) no matter what the positive effects to the county might be.
In short: Whatever happens to the Astrodome needs to be something that works in tandem with the HLSR AND is closed on Sundays. This really leaves us with only two options:
Either we tear the thing down and re-develop it into a parking garage, or we turn it into the world's largest Chick-Fil-A.