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Houston Astrodome would become indoor park under reuse plan

A team of expert developers, economists and urban designers crafted a plan to turn the historic indoor stadium into a one-of-a-kind civic space. (Urban Land Institute Advisory Services Program)

The iconic Houston Astrodome, an indoor sports stadium, was dubbed the Eighth Wonder of the World and heralded as an engineering marvel when it opened in 1965. Today, more than a decade after the city’s baseball and football franchises left for newer stadiums, its events calendar includes high school sports and gun shows. There’s ongoing talk of demolition.

Clifford Pugh reports for CultureMap Houston that the Urban Land Institute wants to salvage the Astrodome, now called NRG Park. Its plan calls for transforming the stadium into an eco-friendly, multi-purpose civic space featuring an indoor park. Other uses could include a farmer’s market, agriculture, festivals and museum exhibits. The upper section of the Astrodome is envisioned as an adventure destination with zip lining, hiking and bike trails and simulated rock climbing.

A team of expert developers, economists and urban designers crafted the plan, the article says. During a recent weeklong visit to Houston, former Pittsburgh mayor Tom Murphy, one of those experts, said the city is at a crossroads, Pugh writes. “You can be bold or you can be timid,” he said in making his pitch for the proposal. “You can protect the status quo or you can reach for the future.”

CultureMap Houston

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