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Astrodome on National Register of Historic Places

Astrodome on National Register of Historic Places

The Houston Astrodome, once known as the "Eighth Wonder of the World," hasn't served as the home of the Astros since 1999 and lately has been faced with destruction.

The National Park Service's decision this week to add the dome to its National Register of Historic Places might help keep the wrecking ball at bay, but still leaves it in a precarious position, according to The Associated Press.

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Paul Lusignan, a historian with the National Register of Historic Places, told the AP that the list -- which includes more than 1.5 million buildings and properties -- is largely honorary but could make it easier to revamp the Astrodome by making any such efforts eligible for economic incentives, such as federal and state tax credits.

However, a $217 million referendum that would have renovated the building into a convention center already failed to win the approval of voters in Harris County, Texas, in November. And the register does not limit what the county can do with the property.

Joe Stinebaker, a spokesman for Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, told the AP that the decision will have "very little impact" on the county's decision, leaving its fate "in utter limbo," with no serious proposals for the Astrodome's preservation surfacing since the bond issue failed.

The Astrodome debuted as the world's first domed stadium when it hosted an exhibition between the Astros and Yankees on April 9, 1965. It brought AstroTurf to the world and provided a home to Major League Baseball, as well as the NFL's Houston Oilers and numerous other events. But the building, in a state of disrepair, has been closed since 2009.

"It went beyond baseball and football," former Astros president and general manager Tal Smith said in November. "It was a magnificent structure, and it meant so much to Houston and Harris County. It really attracted worldwide attention."

Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @HitTheCutoff. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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