I was among those who went to see the implosion of the Cap Centre on Sunday ["One Last Show at the Old Arena; Fans Turn Out for Cap Centre's Roaring Finale," Metro, Dec. 16]. I was saddened, but I recognize that the arena had grown old and that other plans for the site were inevitable.
Having said that, I would encourage the developers of the site to commemorate the Cap Centre's center court, where basketball tipoffs and hockey face-offs took place for 25 years. This was done in Pittsburgh when the Pirates' Forbes Field met the wrecking ball many years ago, and the Pirates moved to Three Rivers Stadium. Where Forbes Field once stood is the University of Pittsburgh's law school. Inside the law school someone had the foresight to put home plate under glass in the hallway at the exact spot where it once stood at Forbes Field.
Displaying the hardwood basketball circle under glass at the exact spot where center court once was would be a fitting tribute to some of the great sporting memories for people in the Washington-Baltimore region.
The Cap Centre is no more, reduced to a pile of rubble by a volley of explosions. Seems it had a useful life of about 25 years.
As public stadiums, sports arenas, and football and baseball fields go, this is about the norm in the United States before team owners decide that a facility is unacceptable.
Then taxpayers are asked to pay for a new stadium when a city or state agency enters into an agreement with the owners that gives the owners control of the stadium and the activities that take place there. Usually the owners also insist on having veto power over any proposed building near "their investment property."
Both the owners and the agency contend that the new stadium will put the given city or other jurisdiction "on the map" and generate revenue for the city and state. But the cost to taxpayers is high, as they are the ones subsidizing the physical plant and underwriting the city or state services to the stadium.
Revenue from the state lottery, or state taxes on income, property or sales, should not be used to subsidize stadiums, owners or fans.