Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Why We Support the Verizon Center Signage

Tomorrow (Wednesday) at noon there will be a hearing on the proposed jumbotrons at 7th and F in Room 412 of the Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW).  Yesterday, Ted Leonsis weighed in with his "take" and invited community residents to come and have their voice be heard.  We won't be able to be in attendance, but thought it was high time we weigh in.

In short, Ted: you have our support.

We see no reason that the privately owned Verizon Center shouldn't be able to supplement its income (it's still $100 million in the hole from building costs) with advertising, particularly when it has brought so much  income to us as Penn Quarter residents.

The Verizon Center has brought Caps, Hoyas, Madonna, the Dalai Lama, NCAA's March Madness and so many others within spitting distance.  The growth it spurred has brought Shakespeare, Jose Andres, comedy, movies, farmers markets, the President's favorite pizza, Tony Awards, and arts festivals.

Focusing on sites just across the street from the Verizon Center, or in the accompanying complex: you can see portraits of all 43 presidents; grab a beer from a tap at your table or have a glass of champagne on tap with a Top Chef contestant; register for a china pattern; stop by your attorney's office; and rent a car.  You can bowl, play skeeball, or play guitar.  You can stay the night in a National Historic Landmark and do pilates on the patio when you wake up.  The Verizon Center is an energy epicenter for Penn Quarter - a force that has allowed countless businesses to move in and make Penn Quarter their home as we have.

These signs are not "blight," as they have been called.  The screens are exciting.  They are far better than the vinyl tarps that currently shroud our arena.  They will not turn Penn Quarter into Times Square, a complaint that's been driven into the ground.

Not convinced?  The plan for new signage (pictures available here) will bring the square footage of advertising down and will totally eliminate any signs that make noise.  The screens will be made available to promote community events and for emergency notifications.  Absolutely none of this has implied the Verizon Center will be anything other than the good neighbor they've been to us all along.  In an effort to be a good neighbor back, we are voicing our support.

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