Sunday, 28 December 2014

A Closure in My Old Neighborhood

For the 3.5 years I lived in Arlington....there were a hundred-odd structures that would get brought up in local conversations whenever you said "waste of money".  One of those included the Artisphere in Arlington.

It was a highly artistic structure over near the Wilson Blvd area of Arlington....generally referenced as being in Rosslyn (although the whole region is Arlington).  As best as I can describe the building....having walked around it but never was a dome-shaped building of a significant size.  There was a bar and lounge attached to it.....although I can't remember anyone ever claiming they sipped a beer there.  There was a 4,000 square foot 'ballroom' for social engagements.  And there were five or six areas for art display or public displays.

Most folks in the Arlington knew it existed.....beyond that, I doubt if it ever had more than local school kids herded over to it, or the 500-odd artsy-crowd folks in the local art establishment that went to it monthly.  What the Arlington county council would admit.....they were supplementing the budget with around 2.5 million dollars a year.  The odd thing was that the county had twelve people hired up for the facility as full-time help and another twenty as part-timers.

The place, at it's peak last year.....with between 75,000 and 80,000 guests.....simply never made any type of pay-back to the community and was a magnet for public funds. Every election period.....this was fairly noted in the local news.

Well....this week, the county commission finally made a decision to dump the Artisphere.  They will discuss some alternate purpose for the building (mostly because there's a six-year period left on the lease and if they break it.....there's more cash involved).  Although it's hard to guess what function could be made out of the dome-structure.

The odd thing that always came up in conversations when people discussed the place?  It's the only pub/lounge in Arlington which WOULD NOT accept credit cards.  With almost three-hundred drinking establishments in the Arlington area.....this one footnote is the one that made me question the legit nature of the whole establishment.

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