In recent years, there have been many questions concerning the Astrodome. Those questions have ranged from “what else could you do with the iconic building” to “should they just blow it up” to “wouldn’t it be better if it were tiny?” And now, we can add a new one to the list. Namely: “Why is it so dirty?”
Whatever the future holds for the Astrodome, as of this December, it at least won’t be covered in grime for a while. According to the Houston Chronicle, the building is in for “a serious power-washing” starting in December and running through January:
This week plans were announced to give the Astrodome, that historic bone of contention for many in the city, a serious power washing. Work should begin at the beginning of December and run until early January. It’s a big structure so of course it will take a month and change for work to be completed.
The price-tag on power-washing the Astrodome is an eye-popping $63,800—a whole lot of money to rinse dirt off of a building—but taxpayers can rest assured that they’re not footing the bill for this procedure. That is, not unless they were among the Astrodome memorabilia lovers who ponied up, say, $4,100 for the original turnstiles, or $2,200 for Earl Campbell’s locker, in last year’s auction, as all of the money for the power-wash comes out of that fund.
Harris County Judge Ed Emmett is the driving force behind the Astrodome power-wash, according to the Chronicle, which also makes some sense: Emmett is the primary proponent of the “Turn the Astrodome into the world’s largest indoor park” scheme that’s captured more than a few imaginations in recent months (including ours). Emmett told Texas Monthly over the summer that the future of the building as an indoor park was basically a no-brainer:
“There aren’t a lot of other buildings with over three hundred thousand square feet of column-free space,” Emmett says. “What other outdoor activities can we put in there?” Citing another recent addition to Houston civic life, he envisions a “Discovery Green on steroids,” with hike-and-bike trails, an archery range, a venue for the state horseshoe tournament, and an indoor version of an outdoor pavilion. “The last few weeks have been in the upper nineties,” he says in the hot, waning days of summer. “I think we can put it to good use.”
But before anyone can go and enjoy a potential indoor archery course, or miles of indoor hike-and-bike trails, or go ziplining through an artificial jungle, the building that could theoretically house those things needs to get a whole lot less nasty. That starts with a power-washing, and that means that the $63,800 it costs to scrub the grime off of the 8th Wonder of the World is probably a solid investment.