The state of Texas—and most notably Houston—has a new official landmark.
The Texas Historical Commission unanimously approved the Astrodome as a state antiquities landmark on Friday. The designation recognizes the "historical significance" of the Dome and means it can't be altered or demolished without the commission's approval.
The designation is a victory for Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and others who want to save the Dome.
“I greatly appreciate the Texas Historical Commission’s actions today,” Emmett said. “The unanimous decision just shows that, other than the Alamo, the Astrodome is one of the most historic places in Texas.”
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The Astrodome, which opened in 1965 and became known as the Eighth Wonder of the World, has been at the center of controversy for decades. Harris County officials and taxpayers have long struggled in determining what to do with the now empty space.
Emmett has been a vocal advocate at tearing the Dome down because it's owned by taxpayers and is a structurally sound building. Advocates against the Dome have said it would be better to demolish it and make way for other things, such as parking for NRG Stadium.
In 2013, taxpayers rejected a bond proposal that would have turned the Dome into a massive convention and events center. Many thought that the vote meant the end of Dome and it would be demolished.
This past September, the Harris County Commissioners Court approved a $105 million proposal to turn the Dome into a multi-purpose space.
"We will certainly continue to work closely with the commission on our future plans for the Dome," Emmett said.
The Astrodome was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in January 2014.