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April News Digest

Houston’s famous Astrodome, which has fallen into disrepair, is set to be renovated following Harris County Commissioners’ approval of a $105 million plan. The floor will be raised 30ft to ground level creating more than 500,000sq. ft. of rentable space for festivals and events such as the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC).  The improvement scheme will be funded from revenue and fees rather than a property tax increase which failed to win the support of taxpayers in 2016 . The 53-year-old Astrodome, the first domed stadium in the world, is now designated as a Texas Historic Landmark and has also been made a State Antiquities Landmark. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said, ”The Astrodome Conservancy is going to help us ensure the Astrodome is no longer just an unused county building housing only memories and equipment. It will once again be a proud centrepiece of NRG Park producing revenue and badly needed public event space.”

The population of Houston grew in 2017 but at the lowest pace in 20 years.  More people left than moved in from other parts of the U.S.  – only the fourth time this has happened since 1990.  International migration and an increase in births resulted in population growth of 94,417 in the year to July, 1917. The Greater Houston Partnership which promotes economic development stated, “Houston won’t  draw residents from other metropolitan areas until the local economy improves and robust growth returns.” The U.S. Census Bureau  put the population of the Houston metropolitan area at of 6,892,427.  

Former Grampian-Houston Association Vice Chairman Gordon McIntosh, who is now Deputy Minister of Natural Resources in Newfoundland and Labrador, is the main speaker at the Houston-Grampian Association pre-OTC breakfast at the Hilton Post Oaks Hotel on Saturday, 28 April. Aberdeen Lord Provost Barney, who is Vice President of the Grampian-Houston Association, and Karen Bell, the UK Consul General in Houston, are be among  guests attending.  Other speakers include Sue Schneider, Assistant Professor of Nursing at Houston Baptist University, and Harry Gee, President of Sister Cities Houston. Proceeds from the event will go towards the 2018 Grampian-Houston student nursing exchange scheme.