Board backs turning Astrodome into convention hall

HOUSTON (AP) — A county board has recommended converting Houston's historic but deteriorating Astrodome into a giant convention

center and exhibition space.

The Harris County Sports & Convention

Corp. on Wednesday 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 says the groups promoting the private

plans didn't meet the project's criteria by a deadline earlier

this month.

The board's proposal would cost an estimated $194 million and take about 2½ years to complete. The plan now goes to Harris

County commissioners, who will discuss it at a June 25 meeting.

The stadium once dubbed "the eighth wonder of the world" has been vacant since 2009, when it was deemed unfit for occupancy.