We had a nice turnout (30-40 people) at the Nov. 13 ANC 6B Hill East Task Force meeting on the future of the RFK Stadium site. Here are some of the highlights from the meeting:
- Erik Moses, senior vice president and managing director at Events DC, provided a brief overview of the organization, their events and the venues they manage on the RFK site – RFK Stadium, DC Armory, Maloof Skate Park and the Festival Grounds (aka parking lots). View the Events DC presentation (pdf).
- With DC United set to move to a new stadium in Southwest, Mayor Gray has asked Events DC to oversee a study of highest and best use options for the RFK site. According to Moses, the options “must be consistent with the site’s ground lease with the federal government and Events DC’s mission.” The lease calls for the land to be used for a stadium, recreational uses, open space and “other similar public purposes.”
- Sometime in the next two weeks, Events DC will issue an Request for Expressions of Interest for a consultant to formally conduct the study. Moses said they would like to have a consulting firm selected by spring 2014.
- Moses mentioned that DC United would like to be in a new stadium by 2016 but there is still uncertainty as to when the team will vacate RFK Stadium. The new stadium deal still needs approval of the DC Council.
- When asked whether Events DC would push for a particular use like a new stadium, Moses replied that the organization is “agnostic.” He did reiterate that potential uses must be consistent with the Events DC mission (“There will be no office buildings on the site.”)
- I asked Moses whether Events DC is involved with the group organizing a DC bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics. Moses replied that Events DC is not formally involved with the group, but he expects the consultant to consider the possibility of hosting the Olympics when considering options for the site. Moses also noted that city leaders have not yet formally endorsed a bid for the 2024 Olympics.
- Moses said it was unlikely that Events DC would seek to urge Congress to change the terms of the ground lease or transfer the land to DC, noting that either strategy would take years of negotiation.
- When asked about community engagement, Moses said that Events DC is committed to engaging and seeking feedback from the surrounding community and other key stakeholders during the study.
- After Moses concluded his presentation, Bob Coomber provided an overview of the proposed Capitol Riverside Youth Sports Park to replace the north parking lots at RFK Stadium. Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells and At-Large Councilmember David Grosso have introduced a resolution that the city should explore conversion of the parking lots into recreational space. The fields and green space would be constructed over the existing asphalt and would fulfill a need for sports and recreational fields in Hill East.
- CRYSP’s presentation included how their proposal would fit with potential future uses of the site, including a new football stadium, Olympics and the National Capitol Planning Commission’s vision (pdf) of a mixed use recreational/cultural space. You can view the full presentation on the CRYSP website.
- Staff from Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander, Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells and At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange attended the meeting and provided brief remarks. Gene Fisher, who staffs the DC Council’s Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs for Councilmember Orange, briefly discussed the Councilmember’s bill to require the city to conduct a feasibility study of a potential 100,000 seat superdome, indoor water park, soundstage, hotel zone and an upgraded Langston Golf Course. Task force members expressed concern about Councilmember Orange’s lack of outreach to the community prior to the bill’s introduction (I plan to post some additional thoughts on Councilmember Orange’s bill soon).
- The task force made a recommendation that ANC 6B send a letter to Events DC thanking them for the presentation and reinforcing the need to seek community feedback and input throughout the study period. The task force also suggested that the commission urge Events DC and their consultant to seek neighborhood serving uses for the site, uses that would bring residents to the site 7 days a week and not just for special events. ANC 6B will consider the recommendation at its next regular meeting on Tues., Dec. 10.
I’ve previously posted my thoughts on the future of RFK and plan to post some additional thoughts in the coming days.
If you attended the meeting, please post your comments, thoughts or anything I missed below. A big thanks to our presenters, community members and task force members for their participation. And a special thanks to the folks at St. Coletta of Greater Washington for hosting the meeting.