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DC Looks To Lure Redskins Back To The City With MLS' United Leaving RFK Stadium
Published August 5, 2013
THE PPL PARK PARADIGM: In DC, Julie Zauzmer wrote the MLS Union's PPL Park in Chester, Pa., can "serve as a model for what an intimate, waterfront stadium in a neglected part of town might do" for professional soccer in DC. Many fans and Chester residents "herald PPL Park as a gem among soccer-specific stadiums." PPL Park's "most obvious highlights" include an "expansive view of the Delaware River, real grass turf, seats close to the action, and clean, new facilities." But for all that Union fans "love about their team and its stadium, many are less enamored with its setting -- Chester, a city 15 miles south of Philadelphia with one of the worst poverty rates in the state." The stadium has "done little, they say, to improve the surrounding area." PPL Park Guest Services Supervisor Rob Strauss said, "In terms of bringing in new business, I don’t think it’s done much. Everyone’s just reluctant to go to Chester. No one’s going to say, ‘Let’s go to Chester for the night.'" But Union CEO & Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz said that "more than half of the team’s 650-person game-day workforce and 100-person permanent staff live in Chester." Sakiewicz: "We haven’t given up on the vision of creating mixed-use development around the stadium. That vision and dream still exist. Those plans are still there" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/4).