Opinion Staff Editorial

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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  • If they tore down Yankee Stadium, they can tear down the Astrodome.

    I too have fond memories of my Astros in there, but come on, paying $100 million for a parking garage that will be $50+ per ticket when our roads are still full of potholes? Give me a break.

    Tear it down, pave it over, and let it be a legend in our memory instead of what it is now, an old, out-dated, unusable building with a derelict appearance.

  • Yes they plan to raise the floor up and put a garage under it but they plan to maintain the floor level and use the current architecture for have thousands of square feet of uninterrupted floor space for events. It will expand the event space for NRG.

  • A people are defined by their cultural history. The astrodome defined Houston; those opposed to it, who consider it an “eye sore” generally were not around to understand its impact or can ever sense its influence on every other domed stadium that has come since. They are generally from the “throw-away” generation who sees no value in the permanence of a thing; to them it has no value, despite the fact that it represents an era and an architectural fortitude not likely re-captured again in their lifetime. These are the same people who will visit and marvel at the Eiffel tower, The Roman Colosseum, the Taj Mahal, yet never see the comparison in how those structures defined those areas in their own time and left an indelible impression in the popular imagination just as the Astrodome has. And yet, were someone to suggest those iconic structures be torn down because they were an rusty eyesore, they would gasp in shock and indignity.

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