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Old 05-01-2015, 07:10 PM   #1
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County judge arrives in Berlin in search of Astrodome solutions

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett arrived in Berlin early Friday on a trip to visit a resort that potentially holds solutions for repurposing the Astrodome. Emmett plans to visit the Tropical Islands Resort on Monday. The resort is 45 minutes south of Berlin.

Tropical Islands is an island-themed resort that was built inside a defunct airship hangar. The resort boasts a beach, water slides, hotel rooms and a rain forest.

"The whole purpose really is to look at a building that is twice the size of the Astrodome, that has been repurposed completely, they built an island resort in a Zeppelin hangar," said Emmett. "We're not trying to turn the Astrodome into a tropical island or anything like that, but we need to see what's involved in the public-private partnership, the engineering questions, what can be grown indoors."

Many of these concepts coincide with Emmett's vision of seeing the Astrodome become a multi-use indoor park. The Urban Land Institute presented the multi use, indoor park concept to county commissioners in March. Commissioners have yet to decide whether to move forward with that plan.

When Emmett tours the development he plans to meet with resort officials, engineers and horticulturists. Former Houston Oilers defensive lineman and Houston Texans Ambassador Carel Sith will also accompany Emmett on the tour of the resort. Stith sits on the board of the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation, which manages the Dome and NRG Park for the county.

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