JUAN A. LOZANO
HOUSTON (AP) -- The Houston Astrodome, an iconic stadium that's fallen into disrepair since it was shuttered four years ago, could see new life as a giant convention center and exhibition space under a plan recommended by a county board on Wednesday.
The Harris County Sports & Convention Corp. opted to go with its own plan for the world's first domed, air-conditioned stadium instead of one of 19 private-sector plans submitted for its reuse. The board said the groups promoting the private plans didn't meet the project's criteria by a deadline earlier this month.
Among the private plans was one that would have turned the Astrodome into a tourist area with retail and restaurant space and another that would have stripped the structure to its steel frame and turned the area into a park.
"We have a chance to honor the dome's legacy and do it in a functional manner that continues to preserve the memories and history of the building while inspiring the future," said Kevin Hoffman, the sports corporation's deputy executive director.
The project, dubbed "The New Dome Experience," would cost an estimated $194 million and take about 2
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