Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan recommended Wednesday that arts venue Artisphere, which it partially owns, should close by next July. As Benjamin Freed wrote for Washingtonian last month, Arlington has pulled back on other big-ticket projects in recent months.
- The Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcars: Arlington planned to spend $585 million on the transportation projects, which it scuttled after opposition from residents. Streetcar opponent John Vihstadt won a full term on the county board in November; board chairman Jay Fisette said the county’s leadership was “caught flat-footed when organized opposition to the streetcar surfaced in just the last year or so.”
- The Long Bridge aquatic center: Donnellan put a hold on the planned center this past January after estimates for construction and operating costs were higher than expected. The construction bids came in around $82 million and did “not account for design, furniture, internal equipment and fixtures, technology, security, public art, construction management, third-party testing and required permits,” Patricia Sullivan reported for the Washington Post.
- The “million-dollar bus stops”: Arlington built a bus stop on Columbia Pike that cost more than $1 million, a price tag an independent review later attributed to a “lack of clear communication between County and WMATA staff.” The county later rebranded the stops as “transit stations” and figured out how to build them for less than cities like Eugene, Oregon, or Grand Rapids, Michigan have done.
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