Eloquence on the Astrodome Stakes

When a reader essentially spot-on nails the inherent issue that rides with the outcome of an important question, he or she both deserves and shall continue to get more than abundant space in the comment section of The Pecan Park Eagle. Such is the case today with the extended comment submitted this weekend by thoughtful SABR colleague Mark Wernick on the importance of the Astrodome to the City of Houston.

Mark, we’ve been through this earlier on another issue – and we know that your ego-less modesty will beg for more “punctuation consideration” time on future “articles”, but that still isn’t necessary in your case. Once imprinted, the eloquence of your commentary speaks beautifully for itself on the depth of your understanding of what’s at stake with the final outcome on the Astrodome question. In behalf of all Pecan Park Eagle readers, the City of Houston, Harris County and the Astrodome itself, we thank you for your commitment to quality expression.

Excerpted from a Mark Wernick comment to The Pecan Park Eagle column, “The Astrodome: From Here To Eternity” on 4/12/2015.


The Astrodome Stakes

By Mark Wernick

Mark Wernick SABR Member

Mark Wernick
SABR Member

I greatly appreciate these revitalization efforts for the Astrodome. This structure stands as one of the world’s most extraordinary architectural, engineering, and construction accomplishments through the end of the 20th century, and represents literally the only claim Houston has to any such world-class icon of human achievement. The citizens of Houston apparently were betrayed by an excessively fluid demographic that made educational continuity difficult to sustain. However, those who understand the situation, understand that our city has been, and still is, at great peril of losing one of its most significant defining features to entropic economic forces that have little serious significance unto themselves. It is true, for example, that the large airplane hangar next to the Astrodome where a football team plays currently is a more viable source of commercial revenues than its nearly-forgotten next-door neighbor; but in the long-term, a historically preserved and revitalized Astrodome will dwarf that one-dimensional venue not only in historical, cultural, educational, entertainment, and recognition value, but because of these elements, the Astrodome also will surpass the football stadium in commercial value. This will grow more glaringly true as the wider culture increasingly withdraws its support for a sport that damages the brains and shortens the lives of its participants.

The right kind of revitalization will of course determine the ultimate success of the Astrodome’s future.

I envision a multi-faceted complex including a sports museum or a museum with a sports component, an automobile museum hopefully as good as the terrific museum in San Marcos housing the Dick Burdick collection, perhaps a petroleum energy museum, a basketball court for college and maybe even pro games, shops and restaurants, a hotel, beautifully landscaped green park areas, monorail transport to various locations within the domain, and no doubt many other great features can be included through a solicitation of public input. Remember, once the paint is removed from the Lucite tiles, grass and greenery grows very nicely inside the Astrodome.

Anything less than full revitalization of our 8th Wonder of the World will represent for Houston the greatest act of self-sabotage in the history of our city.



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