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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Opinion

Editorial: Astrodome is still important to Houston


Our very own “Eighth Wonder of the World” has been saved by, of all things, a plan to build a subterranean parking garage.

We ask that the Harris County Commissioners Court consider the Astrodome’s history when deciding what to do with it. The structure, which opened in 1965, saw Mickey Mantle’s first home run in an indoor park, Muhammad Ali fight in 1966 and so many of Nolan Ryan’s incredible pitching performances. It deserves to be reinvented into something more than a parking garage.

This monument, still a staple of Houston despite its vacancy, was built because of people like Roy Hofheinz — people who wanted to see the city make money and innovate the sport of baseball.

The Astrodome did that and much more. It housed acts like Elvis and The Supremes and, in its heyday, was one of the world’s most well-known points of interest. We must find a way to honor this history by not tearing it down to build more parking spaces.

The $105 million project will raise the floor of the dome by two levels, up to ground level, and provide 1,400 parking spaces beneath the dome. This allows the dome above to have multiple purposes.

The Harris County Commissioners Court should honor the dome that sheltered 25,000 people affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Despite the tear-down society we live in today, we must stand firm and not deconstruct the Astrodome to respect it. The current plan leaves no guarantee for the dome level, so there is still a question about what will be done to the main floor.

We must save the Astrodome and preserve one of our city’s most important and historic landmarks. Allowing the dome to be torn down and turned into a giant parking garage would be a sad ending to  a proud book — that is not what the Astrodome has represented since its inception.

Let’s continue the proud tradition of the Astrodome by reinventing it into something we can be proud of and enjoy. A for-profit parking garage will leave the history of the dome in the the dust of its ruins.

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