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Voters reject plan to save Astrodome

Voters reject plan to save Astrodome
The Houston Astrodome is dwarfed by its replacement, Reliant Stadium, in 2003. (Brett Coomer / For The Times)

So much for the Astrodome's new lease on life.

Voters rejected a countywide ballot measure Tuesday that would have raised more than $200 million to restore the domed stadium in Houston and turn it into a multipurpose event center. Prop. 2 failed by a vote of 53% to 47%.

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A major challenge for preservationists hoping to save the stadium was that there is no obvious long-term tenant for the building, even in renovated form. The Astros now play baseball in a downtown stadium called Minute Maid Park. The NFL's Texans play in Reliant Stadium, next door to the Astrodome.

With the Super Bowl coming to Reliant Stadium in 2017, the Astrodome is likely to be razed next year to make room for additional parking spaces.

The cost of demolishing the dome is estimated at anywhere from $29 million to $78 million.

Voters in Harris County, which includes Houston, meanwhile approved by a slim margin a $70-million plan to build a new processing center for jail inmates.

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