Report: Dan Snyder Working With Public Officials To Allow NFL Team To Return To D.C.
Local and federal officials appear to be moving toward a deal that could allow commercial development on the RFK Stadium site and pave the way for Washington's National Football League team to return to the District.
Team owner Daniel Snyder has been working with local and federal officials to add a stadium provision to the federal spending bill Congress is looking to pass this month, the Washington Post reports.
The move would clear a key roadblock preventing the Washington football team from returning to D.C., but it would not guarantee the construction of a new stadium on the RFK Stadium site. D.C. would continue to control the property under a lease from the National Park Service. The provision would reportedly remove restrictions that limit the site to recreational uses, allowing commercial development to be built around a stadium.
The parties are moving to add the provision before year-end because they worry the change in control of the House of Representatives from Republicans to Democrats in January could make it more difficult to pass, the Post reports. Snyder has come under heavy criticism for his refusal to change the team's name from what many believe is a racial slur against Native Americans.
The team played at RFK Stadium from 1961 through 1996, over which time it won multiple Super Bowls, before moving to FedEx Field in Prince George's County.
D.C. United played at RFK Stadium until this year, when it moved to the new Audi Field on Buzzard Point. The Washington Nationals played there briefly between the franchise's move from Montreal and the opening of Nationals Park near the Navy Yard. No professional teams currently call RFK Stadium home, but music artists still hold large concerts at the outdoor facility.
D.C. has been designing plans for multiple long-term outcomes for the stadium's 190-acre campus, including one with a new NFL stadium, one with a smaller arena and one with no large anchor. In the short-term, the District is moving forward with a plan for a sports and recreation complex on the site, and it broke ground in August on three turf fields as part of the project.
The NFL team's lease at FedEx Field expires in 2027, and it hired architect Bjarke Ingels to design a new stadium. Maryland and Virginia officials are still vying to bring the team to their state, but if the stadium provision is passed in the federal spending bill, it could give D.C. the advantage over its neighbors. Still, some local officials, including Ward 6 Council member Charles Allen, are opposed to building a new football stadium on the RFK Stadium site, instead favoring new housing and other uses on the property.
Trump & GOP helping Dan Snyder build a new stadium at RFK? Every dollar & square foot we put into a stadium, parking lots, & oceans of asphalt is one that we’re not putting into affordable housing or local businesses or parks and green spaces. #HailNo https://t.co/lCIAdFumpD— Charles Allen (@charlesallen) December 7, 2018