Texas Cyclone

Ultratwister


Six Flags Astroworld
1968 - 2005

The Final Days Of Astroworld

 















It was like being punched in the stomach when I got the word that Astroworld would be closing forever.  Even through its problems I always thought in my heart that Astroworld would be eternal, a place I could always count on to spend some time with friends and family and do one of my favorite things, ride roller coasters.  I had grown up with Astroworld, I had worked for the park and I thought what we had would be here forever.

 

Once the announcement was made, all my weekend plans changed.  I wanted to spend every possible moment at the park I loved so much.  This meant missing an event and canceling plans with family but I was determined to make the most out of it.  This turned out to be a blessing as Zach and myself ended up in the front seat of Greased Lightning’s one millionth launch.











 

Those last weekends were bittersweet.  The park was filled to capacity while the employee ranks had shrunk on the news of the closing.  The employees who stayed were terrific.  There were long lines for everything, the rides, food, even the bathrooms!  Traffic was backed up for blocks with cars trying to get into the parking lot.  It seemed that everyone in Houston wanted to say their good-byes to Astroworld.

 

The last weekend finally arrived with news that there would be no tickets sold at the park.  Despite that measure, both Saturday and Sunday were as crowded as the park had ever been.  The operations department did a wonderful job keeping the rides open with a depleted staff.  Even Thunder River and the Astroway were open on Saturday after being closed for all of October.

 

The employees were terrific despite knowing that they would be out of work in a matter of hours.  One employee told of passing her drivers test for Greased Lightning, so she could dispatch the ride at least once before leaving.  Another employee, James Parker, hired in for the last day.  It did not matter to him that it had been 20 years since he had worked at the park.  He was happy to spend the last day sweeping the grounds.  I talked him into letting my son Zach take over for awhile.  I had always hoped that Zach would work at the park some day.  Since this would not happen, I am glad Zach got a broom and dust pan and swept in from of Greased Lightning, as I did my first day of work in 1981.

 

The guests were seen taking pictures of everything.  It looked like the biggest ACE convention ever held.  Parents were bringing their kids to the park one last time.  Old Employees from every decade of Astroworld’s 38 year history were evident.  Gangs of Supervisors roamed the park telling stories and remembering the park where they had worked.  Everywhere you looked, you could see how much Astroworld meant to everyone.

 

ACE made its presence known also with several informal take over sessions of various rides.  All the coasters were ridden at some point.  Groups formed and split apart just to rejoin later.   

The last weekend the park was open was an emotional rollercoaster.  The Texas Cyclone, showing its contempt of the situation valleyed, leaving only one train operation.  We all just wanted to remember every sight, every smell and every sound the park offered.  So we all took pictures, ate funnel cake and rode every ride we could.  We savored everything knowing it would be the last time.  I  spent the last 2 days with all sorts of people including my Sister Carol, who had worked in the park and had inspired me to work there, to Larry Harvey, my Excalibur Foreman from 1982 and his family. 

 

On Sunday, the time went by all too quickly.  The informal take-over sessions were over and the park was closing.  Graciously, Astroworld management had arranged for ACE to take the last public rides on the Texas Cyclone.  As the park closed, the line was cut off and we entered through that great big mouth for the queue of the Cyclone one last time.  This was one time I wanted the line to move slowly but all to fast, we were at the station.  While in line, brand new graffiti was there, but it all said Farwell to Astroworld and not the usual junk.

 

That last ride on the Texas Cyclone was all to short.  We were laughing and crying and we hit those great drops and experienced those laterals that the Cyclone is famous for.  As we hit the post turn, I lost it.  I had been riding the Texas Cyclone since I was 11 years old.  I had ridden it with my father, and I had ridden it with my son.  I had so many rides that I knew the ride by heart and my heart was breaking as we finished the ride and cruised into the station.  There were more rides for Ace and finally the Employees who deserved that last ride but I had my last ride.  I found my son crying in front of the huge fountain in Coney Island and I joined him for a few minutes.  Then Dawn, Zach and I walked out of the park together, just the three of us.  I couldn’t believe how good the park looked.  There was no trash anywhere, quite an accomplishment after a crowded day.  We saw James still happily sweeping, enjoying is one day of work for this season to the fullest.

 

Main Street was empty with just a few stragglers and employees taking it all in.  We reached the gate, Zach rang the bell one last time that signifies a Great Day, I turned around and took one last picture and we walked out of the park together for the last time.


While all the employees that stayed to the end, A special thanks to Chuck Hendrix and Carolyn Ewing.

Carolyn had this great enthusisam for everything she was involved in and made that park work so smoothly.

Chuck Hendrix deserves all the respect in the world.  With Six Flags corporate virtually ignoring Astroworld and its budget, Chuck made the best of everything turning everything he touched to gold.  Chuck would take his tiny budget, spread some magic dust that made the entire park a better place. Despite all the odds, Chuck kept that park running, kept spirits up and made the right calls for making a park succesfull.  

Judge Hofheinz riding Rub-A-Dub-Dub

Six Flags Press Release September 12, 2005

"While we continually review our properties in order to determine the best allocation of resources, it is important to note that a unique set of circumstances applies to the AstroWorld property and this action should not be considered indicative of our intentions for any of our other parks."

Six Flags said it considered the park's performance in the past several years as well as issues over offsite parking rights related to Reliant Stadium and the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.

 

 

1 Why was Astroworld closed?

 

Six Flags was going through some bad times, poor business decisions and a very questionable business plan.  It was thought that the property could fetch over 200 million dollars.  Astroworld was getting a lot of bad press, especially the Houston Press who really slammed the park with a very inaccurate article about park safety.    The press loved to jump on any story they could about Astroworld.  Every crime in the area was "near Astroworld" even if it had nothing to with the Park.   There was a very negative perception of the park that the current GM, Chuck Hendrix was taking head on.  Six Flags had really let the park go with huge cuts in operations and upkeep.  Chuck Hendrix was making improvements and turning things around, but it was too late for an impatient Six Flags.

 

With Six Flags clearing only 57 million dollars that only paid for three new rides to open in different parks the year after Six Flags closed Astroworld.   The selling of Astroworld paid for rides in California, Georgia and Canada.  Three rollercoaster's.  That's it.

 

 

2. Why didn’t the City or County do anything?

 

 This was a Private real estate deal that did not involve Public Land.

Harris County really did not care as all of their focus was on the new NFL franchise, The Texans

 

 

3. What was the deal with parking?

 

Parking was an issue, but I have been informed that a deal could have been very easily worked out.  Harris County was not keeping up to their contract on parking and the building of Reliant Stadium did not help at all. 

 

4. If the City can spend money on X Y or Z, why couldn’t they save the park?

 

Not enough time, will or money.

 

5. Why were Eminent Domain Laws not used?

 

Eminent Domain laws are very specific in what the can and cannot be used for. They do not apply to this situation.

 

 

6. Why didn’t the city or county pass an injunction to stop this?

 

No Laws were being broken, there was no legal basis to issue an injunction

 

 

7. IF the City of New York could Save the Coney Island Cyclone, why couldn’t the Texas Cyclone be saved?

 

The Coney Island Cyclone was owned by the City of New York, In fact they still own it and lease it to Astroland.

The coaster was condemned in 1969 and scheduled for demolition but a grass roots movement stepped in and the coaster was saved to re-open in 1975,

So that is the key difference between our cyclone and the one in Coney Island.

The ride was already owned by the city, the land is owned by the city and despite that, it still took 6 years to save.

In contrast, the Texas Cyclone was not owned by the city of Houston, the land was not owned by the city of Houston and we sure did not have 6 months much less 6 years.

 

8. What will happen to the land?

It has sat empty for almost nine years now.  The Houston Livestock show and rodeo bought the acreage closest to the highway along with the bridge but the site is still undeveloped

 

Six Flags, you want to be a better chain?

Lower parking costs and add that to the gate price.

Raise the cost of Season Passes.

RUN THE RIDES AT CAPACITY! 

Staff for the crowds, NOBODY gets Saturday off!

Little things count!

Nobody likes to be nickeled and dimed.

Make the Guests happy.

Let the Park Managers run the parks.  They are there, they know what they need, the Six Flags corp. needs to quit micro-managing the parks.

And lastly, please don't shut any more parks down....          
       

River of No Return

Brought over from Germany, Anton Schwatzkopf's Masterpiece Thriller made a brief appearance at Astroworld.

Plagued by problems such as the Houston Heat, modifications made to the Trains, and the intensity of the G Forces, the ride was modified and shipped to Six Flags Marine World.

I remember my rides on it were insane and so much fun.

Some construction going on this page....
















































































The best ride that ever was located at Astroworld.  The Alpine Sleigh Ride.  A hybrid coaster and dark ride, the Alpine Sleighs was the most unique ride in the park.  The mountain is still there, but the ride is long gone.  This was the signature ride for Astroworld from 1969 until it's removal in 1984.















The Taxi's would run right through the Mountain







  


























The next three pictures show what was left.






























































































 













































































































































 

 

Kenny Ryman

I have known Kenny for almost 30 years now.  Without him this page would not be possible.  Thank you Kenny!

The Closing of Astroworld.

History of the Save Astroworld Drive


Help Save Astroworld!

For Discussion and Pictures go HERE

For My Astroworld Site go HERE

CHANGE IN OPERATING HOURS FOR THE FINAL WEEKEND!!!!!

Six Flags AstroWorld Alters Operating Schedule For October 28, 29 and
30

HOUSTON (October 24, 2005)-Six Flags AstroWorld is modifying the
upcoming weekend's operating schedule and limiting ticket sales due to
anticipated high visitation on the last weekend of scheduled operation.
The park will be closed Friday, October 28, and will limit hours on
Saturday, October 29 and Sunday, October 30 to 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. 

Only season pass holders and those who have purchased tickets prior to
arriving at the park will be allowed entry.  No tickets will be
available for purchase at the park's front gates; however, a limited
number of Print-n-Go tickets will be on sale at www.sixflags.com this
week. 

When Six Flags AstroWorld reaches capacity on Saturday and Sunday, the
park will not allow further entry of guests.  Once the park closes to
additional guests, signs will be posted at the entrance of the parking
lot to notify guests that the park has reached capacity.

 

If you are a former employee of Astroworld and would like to attend "one last blast", please email me your name and address to be placed on an invitation list. The park itself will be in charge of validity and the invitations.

If you are a CURRENT ACE member and would like to attend a Last Blast, please email me your name, address and ACE membership ID number to be placed on an invitation list. The park itself will be in charge of validity and the invitations.

Please send all requests via the Contact Us page.

It's not over till its over....  but it's pretty much over.

Six Flags Astroworld will close it's gates forever October 30, 2005

"While we continually review our properties in order to determine the best allocation of resources, it is important to note that a unique set of circumstances applies to the AstroWorld property and this action should not be considered indicative of our intentions for any of our other parks," Burke said in a release.

Six Flags said it considered the park's performance in the past several years as well as issues over offsite parking rights related to Reliant Stadium and the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.

 

What would Judge Hofheinz think of all this?

 

Help Save Astroworld

10/21/2005



The Line for Viper is spilling out into the crowd

Serial Thriller's Line (2 train operation)

Commemorating another Six Flags Customer service initiated by Astroworld.

At 3:00pm, People were still pouring into the park

Security Checkpoint looked like this all day.

A full Parking lot with Reliant Stadium and the Astrodome in the background

Late in the afternoon, cars were still backed up trying to get into the park.

As you can see, lots of Houstonians are saying their good-byes to the park  With this many people supporting the park, it really makes you wonder how the price of land can be compared to the enjoyment of so many...

 

Below is my final letter to Mr. Burke.

October 16,2005

   Kieran E. Burke CEO

Six Flags Inc.

11501 Northeast Expwy

Oklahoma City, OK 73131

  

Dear Sir:

 I am asking that you reconsider the selling of Six Flags Astroworld. I think this is a huge mistake. Astroworld, one of the original Six Flags parks has been an important part of Houston history for 37 years. Over the years, we have supported the park despite the lack of investment

Astroworld is home to "the dance" and "its playtime", what you advertise so much. I know Six Flags needs money and selling Astroworld will help with such much needed cash, but there has to be another way besides taking away something so many people in Houston love so much.

 Your management and other employees are top notch and are STILL working hard to ensure every guest has 100% satisfaction despite knowing that where they work will no longer exist This kind of dedication and pride is priceless.

PLEASE reconsider. This park means so much to so many people for so many reasons. It is part of the community and deserves a chance to shine.

 Losing Astroworld would hurt the city more than anybody is saying, but tourism and city pride would suffer. I also think Six Flags will suffer by not having a Theme Park in Houston. I for one will not be making any more trips than usual to Dallas or San Antonio (Maybe Once a Year) to visit an Amusement Park and I do not believe many people from the Houston area will either. You are turning your back on the people of Houston and taking from them something that should never be taken away, a fun safe place to have fun with your family. Please look at your mission statement again and think about what is best for Astroworld, its wonderful employees and the people of Houston. When you close Astroworld all those people will have lost and only you have gained. Is it really worth it? Do you want that to be your legacy?

I will leave with this post made recently on a forum I was browsing on: 

It was Friday night at 10 PM, a dark truck with a family of four, enjoying a rare 3 minutes where everyone likes the song on the radio.

The dark cab is in silence as the track on the CD ends and the silence is broken with the Minnie Mouse voice of my 4 year old

daughter, "Daddy, I don’t want to turn 5. .

I ponder, where on earth is she going with this? Why don’t you want to turn 5, honey?"

 

She pauses (for effect) and replies, "Because I love Astroworld.

 

You see, my little 4 year old was born on October 30th and she knows that’s also the day that Astroworld closes forever. She knows her birthday this year she is burdened with taking it all in one last time. Walt Disney built Disneyworld to have a place to take his two daughters that they all could enjoy. After 10/30, I got nothing...

 

 

Sincerely,

Michael Robinson

 

10/17/2005

According to this Press Release, Six Flags will be voting on Red Zone's proposal on October 26, 2005.

I really don't think anything will save the park at this point.  The park was PACKED over the weekend of 10/16 - 10/17.  It seems lots of people want to say good-bye to the place.  Its sad to come across people who are just looking around, trying to preserve a memory. 

I still think it is so wrong to close the park.  I don't think that people in Oklahoma City who run Six Flags should have the right to take Astroworld away from us.  More news about the closing later, but for now lets just enjoy the last two weekends we have left.

10/10/2005

Robby Austin, who runs the Frontier City fan site sent me this article on the sale of Six Flags.  Robby has been a huge part of this site finding articles and doing research.  Thanks Robby!

So it seems that there is interest in buying Six Flags.  To bad it will be too late to save Astroworld.  It's time to pray for a miracle now.  Its a long shot that Snyder gets his people elected and stop the sale, but that is the only chance I think.

Six Flags has plans for most of the rides and they will be removed rather quickly after the park closes so they can open next season at other Six Flags parks.  This is what will keep Cedar Fair from buying Astroworld.  They don't want to buy a park that has no rides.

It's my belief that Six Flags has had this planned for a year or more.  Everything seems too convenient to suggest otherwise.  They lied to us, the public by claiming they were negotiating a new lease for parking.   I believe this was to prevent anyone from mounting an effective movement to save the park.  They did not want another Whizzer incident, when the people of Chicago rallied behind the old Schwartzkopf ride and thwarted Six Flags plan to scrap it.  (Though I heard it will be quietly scrapped after next year)

Burke did a masterful job with the local media.  They bought his story and didn't even question it.  My only wish was that someone in the media would have looked into this a little more deeply and the city and county elected officials would have worked harder to keep the park even after the announcement was made.  When the Oilers left town, they did everything they could to try to change Bud Adams mind and I wish they would have done the same here.  Getting an new amusement park is going to be harder to get than the Texans were.

10/6/2005

Interesting article in the Houston Biz confirms that Six Flags made the decision to close the park back in June.  Also of note, the Texas Cyclone as expected will be demolished.  Six Flags is continuing with the lawsuit.

In light of these revelations, and other facts that I have picked up, I have to say the County and Judge Eckels are not responsible for Astroworld closing.  The facts point straight to Oklahoma City and Six Flags Inc. as being the major culprits here.  

10/5/2005

Interesting communication from Judge Eckels.  I will comment on this after I have had time to digest it.  Couple of key points are that Six Flags decided to sell the park in June and there may be an investor looking to build a new park.  I am looking into both of these claims for more information.

Dear Mr. Robinson:

 

As a frequent patron of AstroWorld over the years, I too was saddened by the news that it is closing on October 30th.  AstroWorld has provided decades of family fun for Houston families.  Our community will truly miss this theme park. 

 

Six Flags announced that it decided to sell AstroWorld because it has been under-performing financially for several years, and it is my understanding that the Six Flags Board of Directors made their decision to sell the property in June, 2005, as a way to boost value for Six Flags shareholders, before negotiations began on the parking issue. I believe the parking situation can be resolved, but this will not resolve the long-term issues of land values and park revenue. 

 

Property values in the area have greatly increased over the last five years, and the park is currently sitting on some very valuable property.  Six Flags Chief Financial Officer Jim Dannhauser has stated that the "value of the land far outstripped the value of the park as an ongoing business enterprise."  It is anticipated the land will sell for $20-$30 per square foot.  This equates to between $95 million and $142 million.   

 

I believe there is a strong market in Houston for this type of facility and there may very well be investor interest in building a similar park in the Houston area.
 

Thank you for emailing me with your concern about this issue.

 

Sincerely,

 

Robert Eckels

County Judge 

 

10/3/2005

I visited the park today with my son to start the last days of being able to ride the Texas Cyclone and the other coasters. The morning was rain filled so we just got one ride on the Texas Cyclone. Despite the ugly weather, the park was packed. What I saw were families enjoying the day. Listening to conversation around me, most people were lamenting the parks closing. I thought to myself, looking at the crowds, "How did this happen? How can Six Flags be so dumb?"

Getting on my soapbox here, I really want to know how closing the park will help Six Flags. The money made off the land isn't going to pay off the 2 billion debt. It can't even pay off 1/2% of the debt. The money being made by selling the park is being carpet-bagged north to pay for other parks new attractions and a Hotel Six Flags is building.

Six Flags tried to out-grow its debt and failed miserably. Now only tight fiscal restructuring will eliminate that debt. Closing a proven profitable park, while bringing in money in the short term, will fail to bring in the kind of money Six Flags will need in the long term. Is this the start of the End of Six Flags? It seems to me that when a company can't see past the next fiscal year, it is in trouble. The largest stockholder is in open revolt, trying to take over the board and the company has even put itself up for auction! (I have no idea who would purchase anything that had so much debt on top of it) This is a company skating on thin ice, and selling Astroworld just makes the ice that much weaker.

So what about the parking? I think that if someone put their mind to it, the parking situation could be fixed. There are other places than Reliant to park, Lots of land behind the park sitting empty, At this point, parking is the least of the problems.

What is the problem is Six Flags is going to close Astroworld for good. And Houston, The fourth largest city in the country will be without a theme park.

So Write Mr. Burke and let him know you feel! By the crowds in the park, and the mood they were in, there is a lot of interest in keeping Astroworld open.
 

 

9/30/2005

An editorial from Amusement Today can be found here.

9/29/2005

I received the following e-mail from Tara who works at the park.  I really think it exemplifies everything that the employees of Astroworld are feeling.

After viewing your site, it was extremely touching for so many of us love Six Flags Astroworld. I'm currently an employee at Astroworld and I find it extremely unfair that they didn't tell us themselves that they were planning on closing Astroworld. I remember coming home from school and my mother telling me that I'll have to look for another job. I then contacted my supervisors and they weren't even informed about the park closing either. It hurts me soooo much to see the job I enjoy most being taken away from me. I planned to work at Astroworld for the next 3-4 working there while attending college, because I've dedicated my life to Astroworld and I knew that I was a great asset to the company and was well on my way up in the management chain. Now, it's all about to be taken away from me, so many wonderful employees whose actually dedicated their lives to make Astroworld what it is today. So now that we are aware of this parks closing, we're just making the best of our last days. We as employees, are going to let Astroworld go out with a bang... I mean it's our job "To make family fun and fond memories....", and that what were are going to exemplify there. I thank you soooo much for fighting for us, we are staying strong, united as a family, no one is going to break us, we are still hoping for a miracle and we're not giving up yet. And I don't want you to give up either. Thank you for believing in us! And like they said, we gave it a good run, Astroworld is my home and always will be, they made me the better person I am today! Even though I'm still a teenager and there's other jobs out there, I'd still choose Astroworld before any other. So once again, I thank you, and God Bless You!...and by the way, ASTROWORLD created the famous saying, "IT'S PLAYTIME!"

That kind of devotion and love for a job is not found often.   It was found at Astroworld, year after year.   I think employees and guests had the same feelings judging from the e-mail I am getting.

As I said in my last update, you deserve so much better....

9/28/2005

Not much news to report, lots of rumors going around but they are just rumors, nothing more.  Right now I am planning my last visits to the park.  With Hurricane Rita dominating the news, not much attention is left is given to the park closing.    I wish I had better news but it looks like nothing has changed.    Astroworld Employees, keep you chin up and be proud of the work that you have done.  Your have shown what great customer service can do and you all deserve so much better than this.

9/20/2005

Was on the Pat Gray show this morning and I think I was able to dispel some untruths about Astroworld.  The park is profitable, the park is not under-performing, it is performing to Six Flags Standards.  The park is not old and run down, but clean and vibrant.  There are no gangs roaming the park.

This is a credit to all the staff at Astroworld.  Despite Six Flags Inc. budget cuts that affected Park hours, upkeep and maintenance, staffing and even running of all the rides, Astroworld is still a terrific park.

 

In other news, according to this Link, Cedar Fair might be interested in buying Astroworld. 

If they are interested, here is a possible solution to the parking problem as suggested by Mark Bailey:

Remove Southern Star and make it the new front gate.  This would clear up the present front gate for future development.  There is quite a bit of empty land south of Astroworld that could be used as parking.  Trams would be needed to get the guests to the front gate, but the park would no longer be at the mercy of Harris County for parking.

 

9/15/2005

Well, its been an emotional few days.   I am not quitting yet.  Dan Snyder, with Redzone LLC. has filed a motion with the SEC protesting the selling of the park, while Six Flags is trying to sell itself.  I have heard a number of good ideas, the best one being buying land behind Astroworld that is vacant and shuttling people from there.  Of course there is the fact that Mr. Burke has found an easy way to make this years interest payment on a 2 billion dollar debt, but he could do that by canceling a few capital projects in other parks.  Believe it or not, some parks get new rides EVERY YEAR. 

The people of Chicago saved The Whizzer by voicing their opinion and while this is a bigger project, I believe it can be done.

Astroworld is worth Saving.  1500 seasonal Jobs, 120 fulltime jobs and the tourist it brings in is reason enough.  Astroworld is the LARGEST employer of Teens in this City.  Think about that.

When you get off an Airplane at Hobby Airport, what do you see outside of security?  A HUGE picture of the Texas Cyclone.

Lets think with our wallets, Astroworld brings Jobs and Tourists, something Houston is far to short of.  Lets not lose that.

9/13/2005

Good Bye Astroworld!

Today's Houston Chronicle states that negotiations over parking broke down on September 6.   The county states that parking was not an issue in the closing of the park citing declining attendance.  Well, I have to ask, if parking was not the issue why were negotiations continuing until the 6th?  Why does this announcement come 6 days after negotiations failed?  Because it is about parking.  Six Flags Inc., being in 2 billion dollars in debt could not afford to or was unwilling to build a parking structure.  With no where to have customers park, what choice did they have but to sell the property, and take the money it makes to make a payment on the debt.  Six Flags has another property within Harris County, Splashtown.  They needed a graceful exit that does not alienate Harris County. I wonder if some sort of deal was worked out so Six Flags would take the blame.  But make no mistake, this came down to parking.  The Houston Sports and Convention Association and the Live Stock Show and Rodeo used their muscle and won.

That's not to say Six Flags Inc. is blameless.  The company has problems.  The debt is so big they could sell all 29 of their other parks and still be in debt.   This is a short sighted solution to a much larger problem. 

9/2/2005

SIX FLAGS ASTROWORLD TO SUSPEND OPERATIONS OVER THE LABOR DAY WEEKEND
TO EASE
EMERGENCY RELIEF EFFORTS AT ASTRODOME


HOUSTON, TX: Six Flags AstroWorld announced today that the park will
not be open over the Labor Day holiday weekend.  The park will be closed
to ensure that the traffic usually generated by a busy holiday weekend
does not interfere with relief efforts taking place at the Astrodome. 

Six Flags AstroWorld and the Astrodome share a parking lot and the
increased traffic that theme park operation generates could impede the
ingress and egress of humanitarian efforts for those displaced by
hurricane Katrina.  We hope this will allow our community to make the
necessary adjustments to accommodate and care for the evacuees.

The park will reopen next weekend on Saturday, September 10 at 10 a.m.

 

To give up revenue from what is traditionally a huge 3 day weekend is a major commitment.

 

8/31/2005

This will be the last update for awhile.  There are more important things at stake than parking right now.  The Reliant Astrodome is becoming a shelter for 20,000 plus people.  This is a wonderful gesture on the part of the folks at Reliant.  Six Flags is offering free admission to the evacuees.  The people responsible for these heartfelt gestures are the same people disagreeing over parking.  I think the current events put things in perspective.

Please Donate to the Red Cross, Help the people from New Orleans if you see them.  Open your hearts to these people who have lost so much.

These peoples Home has become a world that can not support life.  No Drinking Water, No Food, No Power.  Add to this the loss of friends and families and jobs, we should be grateful and do whatever we can to help.

8/30/2005

Six Flags AstroWorld and Six Flags SplashTown to

Donate Money, Tickets to Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Relief

 

Six Flags AstroWorld and Six Flags SplashTown will donate $1 to the Red Cross hurricane relief effort from each paid admission during Labor Day weekend.  The parks will also be offering the Astrodome housing organizers a block of complimentary tickets to distribute to evacuees at the organizer’s discretion. 

Yesterday’s announcement that hurricane evacuees from the Superdome are being moved to the Astrodome necessitated the need to change an offer of free admission to all evacuees announced earlier this week.  Due to capacity constraints, officials felt the number of free admissions per day needed to be controlled. 

“Our staff wanted to move quickly to do something for those impacted by the hurricane,” said park general manager, Chuck Hendrix.  “We hope that contributing money to the Red Cross relief efforts will help those staying with us here in Houston return home soon.”  

For more information, please visit sixflags.com or call .

 

—END—

 

I think some people that evacuated to Houston are tired of being glued to CNN as they watch the news on New Orleans.  Hopefully some families can try to enjoy the Labor Day Weekend. 

Please Donate to the Red Cross

8/24/2005

I received the following e-mail from the County Commissioners office

No Response from the Harris County Sports and Convention Association

Dear Mr. Robinson:

Thank you for your e-mail regarding the parking area for Astroworld.  It is true that the Texans, the Rodeo, and Six Flags Astroworld are going through some tough negotiations involving their respective parking spaces.   

I am very hopeful that Six Flags Astroworld and the other organizations at the Reliant Complex will resolve their differences and continue to provide Houston families with a great, fun filled complex. 

If my office can be of further service to you, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Robert Eckels, County Judge

Isn't this county land?  It seems to me that a Business (Astroworld) that brings cars into the parking lot for 130 plus days a year vs. Texans games that brings cars in 12 days a year would be treated a little better.  How many people go to Astroworld vs. Texans games?  (A Hint:  Most families can AFFORD to go to Astroworld)   Astroworld can be visited for a fraction of the cost.  I really hope the powers that be realize that Astroworld is a family destination that is visited by thousands of people every day of operation.

8/21/2005

Circle May 13, 2006 on your calendar.  Why?  Well it seems that CHAMP (The open wheel racing series) will have its first night race at Reliant Park that night.  Judging by the disruption this caused downtown when the race was held there (Under the Banner of CART) we can expect to see a lot of repaving, construction of Grandstands, Facilities, Lights and miles and miles of cable to be installed.  Details on the race course will be released next month and I will post the info here as soon as it is available, but at first glance, this can't be good news for Astroworld parking as the busy summer season is starting.

Read here for more information.

8/18/2005

Last nights news had a story on a new life for the Astrodome.  A 1,200 room hotel complex that surrounds a open area within the Dome that will have Shops, restaurants and attractions.  The Artist rendition's show something that looks very much like Opryland USA. 

[The New Astrodome???]

Read more HERE

So we will have a Hotel and shopping area but where will everyone park on Game Days?  (why not turn the dome into a parking structure?  Think of the revenue it could bring in for major events and everyone would make money and be happy!)

It seems to me that now is the time to fix the parking in preparation of this project.  A solution that can accommodate the Texans, Astroworld, and all the Reliant facilities in Reliant park.  With a Hotel complex on property, think of the cross merchandising that can happen between all parties.  Lets hope everyone can get together and find a solution before more demand is needed.

Game Day Update

Well to today is game day for the Houston's Texans Pre-season Football game.  As it turns out, the Parking Lot that Astroworld has used for so long was not available to them as it is now the "Blue Lot", or VIP parking for the football game.  Astroworld customers were parking in the South East corner of the Reliant park.  Not only is it a further walk but it seems a lot smaller.

This is what greeted guests approaching the parking lot for the day

If your going to Astroworld, would this mean much?

Astroworld Customers have to enter the parking lot through what is normally the Exit.

This means temporary toll booths and not as many lanes for use. 

At least Reliant Park clarified things with this sign that explains everything.

The normal Astroworld sign was covered. Behind that sign is Astroworld's normal parking area.  Now the normal Astroworld Parking Plaza booths were being used for the Football game, even though the Marquee above it was all about Astroworld. 

.

Update 8/13/2005

In doing some research I found the following document.

On the second page of the document is an interesting sentence:

"Further, until the Corporation, the County and/or a County Affiliate have acquired title to a sufficient amount of Additional Parking Land to increase the total number of Parking spaces available to the Club and the Rodeo as part of the Parking Facilities to at least 25,000 parking spaces without any deduction for any parking required to be made available to Astroworld...

Read it for yourself and draw your own opinion!

Update 8/12/2005

With the first pre-season game for the Texans on Saturday at 7:00PM, It will be interesting to see the parking situation.  With the late game, there might not be much of an issue so we will see.  Past experience has taught me that parking for the park will for the most part be in the most Southeast portion of the lot, bordered by Fannin and the 610 loop.  The park is open until 10:00PM so there will be some overlap.  Anyone going to the park late on Saturday, E-mail me and let me know how it goes.

 

Some Info on the Lawsuit

In May of 2005, Six Flags Incorporated Filed a lawsuit against the Houston Sports and Convention Cooperation.  The lawsuit claims that the Corp. wrongfully took away Astroworld's parking spots.  Six Flags is seeking an injunction that will ensure the same spots used since 1975.  It also claims these spots were leased to the Houston Livestock show and Rodeo and the Houston Texans. 

Claiming lost revenue, the suit is also asking for 10 million dollars stating that the uncertainty has prevented the park from upgrading equipment and adding rides.

Also at issue is the lease for the parking spots that Astroworld claims runs through 2015 and automatic renewals through 2030.  The Houston Sports and Convention Cooperation claim the lease ran out on March 15th of this year.

Also named in the suit is NFL Holdings and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

So it seems to me that Astroworld is just looking for the same parking spots they have used for 30 years.  The big question is about the lease for the parking spots.  A 10 year difference is quite big.

 

Update 8/10/2005

Not to much new news to report but I have heard reports that a temporary agreement has been met.  Since this is in litigation not much information is available.  I did speak to the County Commissioners office who assured me that they wanted an agreement reached as soon as possible, but since the suit is between 2 or more corporations, they did not have much involvement.  Yes the County owns the property but Harris County Sports and Convention Association runs it as a business.

 

Update 8/8/2005

I received an e-mail from Oliver Luck, Chairman of the Houston Sports Authority. In it he states:

"The Harris County-Houston Sports Authority is not involved in the Astroworld parking situation at all.  Our involvement with Reliant Park is limited to the financing for the football/rodeo stadium.  The appropriate people to contact re parking are listed below.  I would appreciate it if you could update your website to reflect this.  Thank you for your help."

Thank you Mr. Luck!  The contact information has been updated below.  My apologies for misrepresenting your organization

 

 

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