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Texans, rodeo devise Astrodome demolition plan

The Associated Press

HOUSTON (AP) -- They say it's more of a concept than a concrete plan, but the Houston Texans and Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo have developed a $66 million idea that involves demolishing the historic Astrodome.

A 37-page booklet mostly of artist renderings obtained by The Associated Press late Thursday shows the domed stadium replaced with a green space and ''Astrodome Hall of Fame.''

A brochure shows a construction timetable that ends with the 2017 Super Bowl - but would have started work June 2.

Rodeo operations chief Leroy Shafer says, in reality, there is no timetable because the plan is not yet being placed before the Harris County commissioners for a decision on the county-owned stadium.

The plan was first reported by the Houston Chronicle.

The idea comes two months after Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, who chairs the county's board of commissioners, asked the stadium's stakeholders to suggest what to do with it. The Texans and the rodeo have been eager to free up the space now filled by the derelict dome, which the Astros vacated in 2000. Opened in 1965, the dome was declared unsuitable for occupancy in 2009.

Although the concept has not been formally proposed to county commissioners, they have been briefed, Shafer said. No funding source has been identified, he said.

''This has to be developed further, but it is one more option,'' Shafer said.

A Houston Texans spokesman referred all questions to Shafer.

The county commissioners have the final say over what to do with the Astrodome and no proposal is now before them, Emmett spokesman Joe Stinebaker said.

''Anybody has a right to make a proposal; this is just another one. The ball has not moved, and my guy remains opposed to demolition,'' Stinebaker told the AP.

Various ideas over the years to overhaul the Astrodome - from a water park to a sports memorabilia museum - have gained little traction.

The stadium's most prominent use in recent years was as a shelter for Louisiana residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

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