Rick Martinez, the news director at WPTF-AM who writes a weekly column for The N&O's op-ed page, is pushing for an arena in downtown Raleigh. Click here to read today's column on the issue. I'll let Martinez and downtown-arena opponents duke it out (the play on words is intentional, as Martinez is a loyal Duke football fan).
But I did want to comment on a letter to the editor in Tuesday's paper. The writer states, "While there are some arguments for a downtown arena, has Martinez considered that it's impossible to tailgate in a downtown parking garage?"
It's not. Go to any Panthers football game in uptown Charlotte on a Sunday afternoon. The tailgating is great. Same in Chapel Hill, where UNC fans go to the top of parking decks near Kenan Stadium to tailgate and admire the view.
Again, I'm not advocating for a new arena in Raleigh. The RBC Center works for most people and is only about a decade old. But one of the strengths of downtown arenas is that you don't have to build new decks because the downtown already accommodates tens of thousands of weekday workers. When the football stadium was built in uptown Charlotte in the 1990s, there was almost no new parking built. That's because the downtown already had enough parking to handle the 50,000 people who worked there Monday through Friday.