I'm giving up on the observatory thing.
I've been thinking about it since the meeting with the department head. There is just no point to continue to work so hard for something no one else supports. As much as I would like to see the observatory remain open and used for public education and outreach purposes, there are so many other ways I can use my time in this way.
So, that's it. The observatory is closing its doors on December 31st, and may not ever be open again. I put a year into this project, on top of my full-time workload, for no pay and definitely no recognition. I wrote up a business proposal, I put together a steering committee, I organized two very successful events, and got the word out there about the observatory. I did my best, and although I'm disappointed, I don't consider any of it a failure.
If I end up getting a potential job (that I'm still not going to write about much until it's set in stone), we might revisit the idea. After all, the observatory isn't going anywhere, is it?