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SBD/Issue 46/Facilities & Venues
DC Council Refuses To Endorse BW Realty’s Ballpark Plan
Published November 16, 2004
DC Council members Monday “refused to endorse” the use of about $400M in private funding from BW Realty to build a ballpark along the Anacostia River “because it would require the city to reopen negotiations with” MLB, according to David Nakamura of the WASHINGTON POST. One of the “major concerns” is that the plan “would require the owners of the new Washington team to pay for cost overruns.” DC Council member Jack Evans said that changing the terms of the deal “is a ‘non-starter’ because [MLB] would not go along.” BW Realty’s Richard Gross acknowledged that the city “would have to go back” to MLB, but said, “If you think this is the best deal you can get, then let’s quit and vote now and save time. But I am not averse to going to baseball and trying to do it differently.” Council Chair Linda Cropp, who has called Mayor Anthony Williams’ plan “too costly and too reliant on public money,” said of BW Realty’s plan, “I’m not pushing this one. I’m pushing a concept: that we look at alternative ways of financing a stadium” (WASHINGTON POST, 11/16). Cropp indicated that her office is “receiving offers from all over the local business community” for private ballpark funding. In DC, Eric Fisher reports Cropp had received ten proposals “as of last week, and the number of solicitations now is believed to be more than twice that.” One proposal came “from a group of unnamed banks in the region who want to be part of the stadium deal” (WASHINGTON TIMES, 11/16).
EDITORIALS: A LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL editorial today reads, “Las Vegas Valley residents disappointed about losing to [DC] in the [Expos] relocation sweepstakes can look at the fleecing that awaits taxpayers in the nation’s capital and be grateful that [MLB] wanted no part of Southern Nevada” (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 11/16). A WASHINGTON TIMES editorial on the rising cost of the ballpark states, “Since the mayor never broached the need for nearly half-billion-dollar community chest, which is filled with social-spending goodies for votes from recalcitrant council members, these bribes deserve to be added to the stadium’s costs. That brings the grand total to more than $1[B] and counting” (WASHINGTON TIMES, 11/16).