Change of Venue
Thursday, October 13, 2005 :::
Moving at lightning speed, the TD editorial page offers its view on yesterday's performing arts center developments.
Their suggestion is interesting: build in Short Pump, not downtown.
Here is the reasoning:
Orange County recently expanded its performing arts center. Next year it will present a production of Wagner's monumental Ring Cycle. A Southern California suburb that formerly bore social scorn from the white-glove set and intellectual disdain from the wearers of tweeds enjoys an increasingly robust cultural scene. Residents no longer have to go to downtown Los Angeles for an aesthetic rush. The Orange County example suggests Central Virginia's arts community might prudently consider whether Short Pump or its environs would be a more welcoming location for its temples of performance and creativity. Short Pump is downtown.
Looking past the ode to Orange County, the real reason to consider Short Pump is near the end: it would be "a more welcoming location."
Now why is that? Well, there would be no Doug Wilder to deal with, for starters. In his place would be the largely docile, part-time Henrico County Board of Supervisors and their active, full-time manager, Virgil Hazelett.
Now Virgil has appeared in ads touting the need for the performing arts center. The County has also been willing to chip in for the center, including, if necessary, a hotel tax to generate funds.
And it's not just Virgil. There's Rep. Eric Cantor, and his wife (a VaPAF board member) who might also be able to make some hay in to get the center built.
I have no problems if the center's board decided to build in Short Pump. But, if they follow the same failed path they chose in Richmond -- one paved with taxpayer dollars -- then nothing will have changed except the ZIP code.
::: posted by Norman Leahy at 10/13/2005