New stadium manager still believes in the old ‘Patina Palace’
YOUR parents had the Termite Palace, and, well, what have you got? The, um, Patina Palace. It just doesn't seem fair.
And maybe that's it, that rust just doesn't seem to grow on people the way old wood does. It does not seem to induce nostalgia as time goes on. Rust isn't seen as a sign of character, no matter how many memories echoed inside that maroon fortress over the last 30-plus years.
Aloha Stadium isn't shiny and new anymore. It's the old gas guzzler that still gets you where you're going, but no one thinks it's cool just to get in it for the thrill of going for a ride, the way they once did. Ask anyone -- a brand-new car would be a lot more fun.
Does anyone still love this bucket of rust?
Scott Chan seems to. The old Kaiser Cougars quarterback is the new manager of the place, and he's already remarked around the office that his honeymoon is pau. As if he knows that once you lose the interim tag you start finding heat. He's probably right.
Aloha Stadium has taken its share in recent years. Sometimes deservedly so, perhaps just as often conveniently so. It's an easy target. The old girl just isn't cool anymore.
Isn't it time to just tear her down?
"Everyone has a right to their own opinion," Chan said this week at the Honolulu Quarterback Club. "If we need to find out exactly what the life expectancy of this facility is we need to ask those who have been working with this facility for the last 33 years. And they feel if we go and take the opportunity to renovate it completely, it will last for another 25-30 years. It'll be as brand new.
"But we need to do this now, because every year that goes by you tack on another 14-15 percent. And we're already asking millions of dollars, which is a lot of money, but nowhere near what it would cost to build a new one."
How many hundred million, total, for a new field of dreams? (Naming rights? Selling off the old-site land? Maybe ...)
And when would a new-stadium project even break ground, with Aloha Stadium needing to be used and maintained in the meantime?
But then, how much would it cost to get an old-to-start-with stadium up to snuff -- $100 million?
"To be exactly correct I will tell you it would take $130 million," Chan said. "And that price again, you multiply it by 14 percent every year that goes by that we don't do anything about it. That's about right for anything that you do. I mean, if you compare that with $500 million; about $300 million (for a new stadium) is what they're saying, but if you add in and throw in infrastructure, it's hard to understand why we can't sit down and entertain the thought, why is it not feasible to renovate the stadium."
Sound fiscal advice, except we'd all probably rather just have a new one, except for that pesky $300-$500 million price tag. Aloha Stadium has lost its luster. Everything's old. Chan said what money it gets goes thusly: water, plumbing, electrical, "somewhat the rust issue," nothing exciting or cool or new. Not yet.
But he believes in the old place.
"One of our bigger tasks is to lobby the politicians and to make them understand the potential that we have and what's best from our point of view for the state of Hawaii in terms of an athletic facility," he said.
Either way, we'd probably better start talking about it before everything goes up another 14 percent.