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Posted at 12:59 PM ET, 10/16/2012

Arlington’s approach to streetcars, Artisphere, murals shine light on county’s management style

The Artisphere combines the former Newseum space and the Rosslyn Spectrum as one art facility. But it is losing money, and some question whether taxpayer funds should support it. (Jonathan Newton - The Washington Post)
Several articles in recent days about Arlington County are providing a good perspective on the real-life impact of a progressive county’s approach to governing. First, The Washington Post’s Pat Sullivan reports that county board member Libby Garvey now opposes the Columbia Pike streetcar project, which the board unanimously approved before Garvey joined. Even her Green Party opponent opposes the streetcar, with both candidates saying that buses would be cheaper and easier. The blog responded Tuesday from the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, saying streetcars are preferable to buses. It seems like Arlington, and Fairfax County, are inexorably committed to this project now, even in the face of the opposition continues, and Arlington’s leaders feel the streetcar is the best way to remake Columbia Pike.

In the City Paper, Steve Kiviat takes a detailed look at the Artisphere as it turns two years old. The arts center in the old Newseum building is heavily supported by the Arlington government (meaning the taxpayers), and it is projecting a $2.3 million deficit. The question arises again, as it has with PBS in the presidential debate: Should government fund the arts?

And in the Shirlington area, there is a new mural on the side of the Wag More Dogs grooming and boarding service. Arlington ordered a previous, dog-related mural to be reduced in size, covered up or topped with a sign welcoming folks to the adjacent dog park, and then won its battles in court. Huffington Post reports that a new mural is now in place, which you can see here. And the debate over the old mural, in the comments section here, was very interesting. Some 600 people voted in our poll, and two-thirds felt that the old mural should have stayed, though there’s no telling how many of those live and vote in Arlington.

By  |  12:59 PM ET, 10/16/2012

Categories:  Arlington County, Government | Tags:  Arlington County, Columbia Pike streetcar, Artisphere, Wag More Dogs, Libby Garvey

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