When you think of most cities there is usually some defining feature that you can relate to.
New York has the Statue of Liberty. Chicago has Wrigley Field. Detroit has rampant crime-infested streets.
But what about Knoxville? What is the recognizable feature of our fair city?
Was there any hesitation? The Sunsphere, of course. It's Knoxville's own 266-foot lollipop.
There is something disturbing about the sphere of sun, though. It is basically no ocupado and could be haunted.
The architectural anomaly was constructed for the 1982 World's Fair and has had various tenants over the years. It was a restaurant during the World's Fair and was later rented out for various receptions.
The Convention and Visitors Bureau camped out there for a while and then the gold tootsie pop was used as an observation deck. It has been infested with migrating offices for the past few years.
According to the Knox County/Knoxville Public Building Authority, the future plans for the Sunsphere are not finalized.
Tentative plans include reopening the sphere's observation deck and perhaps opening a restaurant or lounge.
I have come up with a few ideas that will bring in a fleet of tourists just salivating over our 24-karat disco ball.
A grocery store: No more mundane trips to the market. Did you check out that view on aisle 13?
A casino: I realize there are laws in place that do not allow gambling in the state of Tennessee, but the Sunsphere isn't really in Tennessee; it's kind of above Tennessee.
My roommate suggested a bowling alley, but I can see the inevitable lawsuits there. Too many free-falling bowling ball liabilities.
My roommate also suggested a giant haystack. I have no idea what she meant by that, but ... there you go.
A dentist's office: No kid would ever complain about going to the dentist again.
A water park: You wouldn't have to spend any money heating the water; it's solar-paneled and energy-efficient.
Or we could just fill it up with wigs and fulfill "The Simpsons" prophecy.
Knoxville needs an icon and not a hollow one; bring in something even if it is fake hair.
- Rosemary Nottoli is a senior in journalism and plans on moving into the Sunsphere. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunsphere has golden opportunities
Published: Fri Sep 19, 2003 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 05:22 p.m.