Astrodome likely to remain standing

After years spent languishing, the so-called "Eighth Wonder of the World" got a reprieve on Wednesday.

The Astrodome, which was largely rendered obsolete in the last decade as football and baseball migrated to newer venues, will not be torn down.

Instead, according to the Chronicle, Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation will recommend converting the massive indoor venue into a massive indoor exhibition space.

A proposal, costing $194 million, will go in front of Harris County Commissioners Court on June 25. The plan, created by the HCSCC, entails removing all seating and filling in the below-ground playing surface in order to create 355,000 square feet of open space.

This new effort to keep the edifice standing came as a result of the failure of 19 privately-submitted ideas to gain any traction or harmony regarding lease agreements with the Houston Texans, the annual livestock show or the master plan for the Reliant Park complex, of which the Astrodome is part.

The first purpose-built indoor sports venue in the United States, the Astrodome opened with much fanfare for the 1965 Astros season. It hosted the club until 1999, and also housed the Houston Oilers until their departure following the 1996 campaign and the Houston Cougars until the following year.

It has fallen into disrepair since, but was used to hold evacuees from Hurricane Katrina in 2005.