AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - An effort to save the once-majestic Astrodome stadium in Houston failed on Tuesday night when voters rejected a $217 million bond proposal to turn it into a convention center and complex.
The vote means likely demolition for the Astrodome, which was called the "Eighth Wonder of the World" after it opened as the world's first domed and air-conditioned stadium in 1965.
Harris County voters rejected the bond proposal with a 53 percent to 47 percent vote. Proposition 2 would have allowed the county to issue up to $217 million in bonds to redesign and rejuvenate the once-celebrated stadium into a 350,000-square- foot facility with a 400,000-square-foot plaza.
County commissioners will vote on the future of the facility, officials said, but a spokesman for Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said the judge, who championed the bond proposal, would rather see it demolished than abandoned.
The county sought viable private and public options for six or seven years and those options were exhausted with the failure of the bond proposal, spokesman Joe Stinebaker said.
"Rather than leave the Astrodome sitting out in the parking lot rotting, the judge would prefer to see it taken down," he said.
The aging facility has not hosted a sports team in nearly 15 years after its baseball and football teams moved to newer facilities, such as Houston's Minute Maid Park. The stadium has been closed since 2009.
(Reporting by Karen Brooks; Editing by David Bailey and Maureen Bavdek)