In the wake of Hurricane madness, comes this from Mayor Eric Hersh in South Florida:
Hersh, like the aging Robert Redford in The Natural, has come to the rescue of the Marlins, arguing that South Florida can hardly afford not to build a properly designed, centrally located stadium.
Without it, Hersh warns, there will be hell to pay.
NO MAJOR CENTER
The notion struck Hersh, the mayor of Weston, and City Manager John Flint as they reviewed their city's emergency plans after Hurricane Katrina smashed over the Gulf Coast. Shaken by what was unfolding in New Orleans and at the Superdome, Mayor Hersh and Flint realized there was no comparable structure in South Florida that could serve as a major evacuation center. No place to house thousands of storm refugees, provide emergency power and food and water until the crisis passed.
Suddenly, Hersh said, a new stadium began to make sense....
Hersh wants a deal with the Marlins that would require a Category 5-proof stadium, stocked with emergency supplies and generators, with storm refuge as much a priority as a baseball. In a letter to the governor, state legislators and Marlins management, he suggested that the state subsidize a stadium-shelter, well away from the oceanfront (not in Weston).
I'm not convinced. A case might be made to subsidize various buildings - a few high school gyms perhaps - to bring them up to Cat 5-proof strength. Are South Floridians willing to pay for that? If so, they should be (and probably would be) doing it now. The case for a domed stadium/shelter requires both the willingness to pay by the public, and the technological feature that a domed stadium would be more effective (or cheaper) than a dispersed alternative among smaller buildings.