*UPDATED* Weigh In Today on Absurd RFK Stadium Study Bill

On Tuesday, Feb. 25, the DC Council’s Committee on Economic Development will hold a hearing on Bill 20-563, the District of Columbia Sports and Entertainment Complex Feasibility Study Act of 2013.  If enacted, this bill would require the Mayor to conduct a study to determine the “economic feasibility, economic impact and costs” of developing a new 100,000 seat superdome, indoor waterpark, soundstage, PGA-level golf course and hotel zone at the RFK Stadium, DC Armory and Langston Golf Course sites. If enacted, the bill requires the study to be completed by Feb. 15, 2015.

As I’ve detailed in a previous post, this is a really bad bill. Instead of outlining a thoughtful, open planning process that involves the community in determining future uses for the RFK Stadium site, B20-563 begins with the conventional wisdom (a new stadium to replace the old one) and surrounds it with a random grab bag of pet projects that will do little for the neighborhood and city.

Unfortunately, six Councilmembers (Alexander, Barry, Bonds, Evans, Graham and Orange) co-introduced the bill, including three of the five members who currently sit on the Committee on Economic Development. The co-introducers need only one additional vote to get a majority on the full Council. We need to make it clear that this bill did not involve community input and lacks support in the neighborhood.

Please take a moment today to e-mail to the members of the Committee on Economic Development and urge them to oppose B20-563. Be sure to copy Robert Hawkins who staffs the committee for Chairperson Bowser. And make sure you ask that your statement be submitted for the record.

Here are the e-mails:

You can also contact Councilmember offices by phone.

Finally, you can watch the hearing (and all Council hearings) by visiting the DC Council website. The hearing will be at 10 am in Room 120. I plan to testify in opposition on behalf of ANC 6B.

Thanks for your help!

Updated 2/24/14:  If you need additional background information on the bill, I outlined my concerns about the bill in a Dec. 19, 2013 post. And here is a link to the actual bill (pdf). 

6 Responses to *UPDATED* Weigh In Today on Absurd RFK Stadium Study Bill

  1. Speshul Ted says:

    For those who were as confused as I was, there actually is an explanation of why this is a bad idea, once you read through and then click through to the previously released supporting article. I was confused until I buckled down and read it all…

    Are there options for those of us not in any of the wards listed but clearly impacted, such as my ward? Would Tommy be able to impact or influence this?

    “Apparently, almost half of the DC Council actually thinks it is worth taxpayer dollars to study Councilmember Orange’s dreamland. Why would we build more than 1,000 additional hotel rooms for a stadium that will be primarily used for 10 football games a year? If the idea is to hold more than sporting events at the complex, aren’t we competing with our own taxpayer-funded convention center which is still struggling to attract events? What happens to the DC National Guard when the Armory is turned into a soundstage? Where would the hotels, housing and retail be built since most of the RFK Stadium site sits on a floodplain and under federal lease terms must be used for stadium or recreational use? And why would we fund this study when Mayor Gray has already asked Events DC to conduct a study on future uses for the RFK Stadium site? (Events DC has already posted aRequest for Expressions of Interest seeking a consultant to conduct the study)

    Clearly, Councilmember Orange’s plan is not feasible and not in the best interests of the city. Instead of wasting taxpayer dollars on a poorly thought out study, the DC Council should look to fund realistic future uses for the site – uses that serve both residents and visitors. An example is the Capitol Riverside Youth Sports Park proposal, which aims to turn a portion of the stadium’s north parking lots into recreational fields. Not only is this project feasible, it also responds to a critical need for more recreational field space in the city.”



    • bflahaven says:

      Hey Ted

      Thanks for the comment and sorry for the confusion. I’ve actually written about this a few times so many already know about the bill. Having said that, I’ll update the post with a clearer link to additional background.

      And please do weigh in with any/all Councilmembers. I’m starting with the Econ Dev Committee members since they are holding tomorrow’s hearing. But if this bill goes anywhere (hopefully not), we will need to weigh in with the full Council.

      Thanks again!

  2. dcgent says:

    I’d focus strongly on the two at-large reps as our votes have some relevance to them. Notably neither Ward 6 or 7 council members have endorsed this (yet!)

  3. Colleen Garibaldi says:

    Thanks Brian — I sent my two-cents in to all of the addresses, copied below:

    I am a long time resident and homeowner in DC and strongly oppose the RFK Stadium Study Bill, also known as Bill 20-563, the District of Columbia Sports and Entertainment Complex Feasibility Study Act of 2013. There are far more pressing needs that merit the time, attention and money any such bill would incur. There are a number of studies that have already been completed for potential future use of this site (such as the Federal NCPC 2006 RFK Stadium Site Redevelopment Study which included many stakeholders and the community) and none of them have included a 100,000 seat sports stadium, an indoor waterpark, tanning salon, chain restaurants and the like. I oppose the use of city resources to finance something that has such a clearly defined program that was developed outside of the community.

    If a private developer wants to propose developing RFK in such a manner as outlined in the bill, then by all means listen to the developer, receive the proposal and share it with us, the constituents, along with all of the relevant stakeholders, before making a decision as to whether such an idea merits study. Get community input before committing community dollars and space.

    Here’s another idea – take the money that is being proposed to fund this study and build affordable housing. Build affordable housing. Not pointing fingers at developers and saying that affordable housing is disappearing from the city and is the main cause of the homelessness in the city. Put the money towards building the infrastructure at the adjacent Hill East Waterfront parcel. Let the initial two blocks get developed privately per the current discussions and use those study funds to extend the infrastructure and build a block or so of affordable housing. Or at least use the money to get that ball rolling.

    Colleen Garibaldi
    1850 Potomac Avenue SE
    Washington DC 20003

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