HOUSTON To raze or repurpose? That is the question when it comes to the Houston Astrodome.

Ultimately it will be in the hands of the voters, when they decide on a $200-million plus bond referendum next month to repurpose the stadium that would make it the gateway to Reliant Park. So why then is the county spending $8 million to tear down ticket booths and walkway towers and to begin asbestos abatement?

The work that s going on at the Astrodome is work that needs to be done regardless of what happens, said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.

The obvious question: How is the project being funded?

We have obviously a large budget in the county, and the county s got a Triple-A bond rating, and we re in good shape, said Emmett.

Emmett said the county had the money in this year s budget. With the Super Bowl and Final Four on Houston s horizon, he says time is of the essence when it comes to putting the best foot forward, whether the stadium once marveled by world finds a new destiny, or comes tumbling down.

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