What to do to the Dome

The ultimate disposition of the Eighth Wonder of the World, aka the Astrodome, admittedly concerns Houstonians only, and apparently not many of them.

It’s no wonder. There’s no better way to feel powerless at the municipal level than by watching the Usual Suspects—developers with vision-free ideas, government officials with personal advancement ideas, and movers and shakers of all sorts—rolling around in the dirt.

So far, ideas include the mundane—a parking lot (a classic reuse of historic Houston buildings), some sort of memorial to the building—after they tear it down (!), and a dull assortment of amusement parks and hotels.

But IMHO, there is a good idea out there, submitted respectfully and no doubt futilely by Your Obedient Servant (for the second time—the first didn’t even rate a reply asking me to not bother the recipients) in a recent letter to the Houston Chronicle, which spells it out:

To the Editor:

The Houston Museum of Science and Technology—this is the most appropriate reuse of the Astrodome. The building would serve as both a container for the city’s accomplishments and one of its most impressive exhibits.

Energy, medicine, transportation—a lot has happened in a town whose tourist slogan could well be “Houston: The City Without a History.”

The Saturn moon rocket spent years in NASA’s “front yard,” much like an abandoned car in a run-down neighborhood. Imagine it on proper display, vertically and in the center of the Astrodome, as the literal centerpiece of the museum. The Saturn moon rocket is arguably a more important space vehicle than the Shuttle, and unlike the Shuttle, the city has one.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do something right, on a grand scale. Isn’t it time others know more about the rich history the city seems so determined to ignore?

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