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What's Next for D.C. United?

Rosalind Helderman

So where do things stand with the proposed D.C. United stadium for Prince George's?

We know that County Executive Jack Johnson has asked Metro to sell land at the Morgan Boulevard Metro station to the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission for use as a stadium, and suggested they include some politically-connected developers with whom Metro had already terminated talks. Read more here.

There was also a lengthy hearing yesterday in Annapolis featuring some colorful testimony from both stadium supporters and opponents. They were speaking about a bill that would have once allowed the Maryland Stadium Authority to float bonds to build the stadium. Bill Sponsor Del. Melony G. Griffith (D-Prince George's) told a committee yesterday that she will amend the bill to remove the reference to bonds but authorize further study of the idea.

So does that kill the stadium for a year? Not necessarily. Team President Kevin Payne said yesterday that it was never the plan to float bonds as soon as the bill passed. Instead, he said he hopes to see a bill approved that would provide some state funding for new feasibility studies, even to draw up designs for the stadium.

While the studies proceeded, the process for getting the Metro land could move forward. Payne said he believed the changed bill would allow the process to proceed for a 2012 groundbreaking.

"We genuinely believe this is a good idea for the state, the county and the team. We believe this process will move forward," he said.

Still, prospects for even a highly amended bill remain uncertain. The bill first will be considered by the House Appropriations Committee, where some members have expressed deep skepticism. Del. Murray D. Levy (D-Charles), for instance, said this morning he plans to vote against the bill, even if it only authorizes studying the idea further.

"There is a major fiscal crisis in our state and our country," he said. "We should not send the signal that we would even consider this, because we should not. Now is absolutely not the right time."

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 18, 2009; 12:11 PM ET
Categories:  Prince George's County , Rosalind Helderman  
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Comments

Congratulations to Del Levy for recognizing DC United and Jack Johnson's back door way to state and county stadium financing and liability. I hope other delegates are as cognizant of the parameters of HB1282. If HB1282, as amended, allows for stadium design, why would we be creating design if we didn't intend on creating a stadium.

Delegates were not told the truth yesterday in testimony. Jack Johnson and DC United president, Kevin Payne, told the House Appropriations Committee that a site had not been chosen. There was a lot of discussion about it. That obviously was not true!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! because

This morning we find a site has been chosen, (Washington Post, Metro, B03, "Pr. George's Asks Metro to Sell Land at Morgan Boulevard", Wed, 3/18)and that Park and Planning wants to build a new building (how many millions for that)next to the stadium. DC United President Kevin Payne in this article said yesterday (same day they were before house committee) "that team leaders believe the Morgan boulevard metro land would be an ideal location."

We testified that we would love to have the stadium if it funded its own bonds 100%. That is still true.

Posted by: robinsonawjr | March 18, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Isn't the plan for the bond payments to come from taxes on tickets and concessions? By that reasoning, isn't the stadium "funding it's own bonds?"

I agree that it makes sense that the fans watching games at the stadium should pay taxes that pay for the bonds. I don't think anyone is proposing that Prince George's or Maryland pay for the stadium out of its existing tax base. No one would go for that. That's obvious.

There isn't any county liability. The bonds would be floated by the Maryland Stadium Authority.

On top of all this, Prince George's will get its own version of Bethesda with the stadium as its anchor. Who wouldn't want a medium sized stadium, comparable in size to the Verizon Center, surrounded by a great Metro-adjacent town?

Posted by: Cavan9 | March 18, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

As a dc fan i know how important it is for democracy after all this is what this country is based on. I would just hope the before md makes a decesion they really look at the numbers themselves and not really on biased newspaper articles, As a soccer fan i am confident it makes sense for everyone. We all know tax payers money is not in jeopardy now its times for our owners to prove it to them.

Posted by: Norteno4life | March 18, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

I don't have access to the numbers being tossed around, so I don't know precisely what makes sense. I do know that the people who have opposed this, Del. Levy's attitude above being a perfect example, do so on ideological grounds. They oppose it before there's even a concrete thing to oppose.

Posted by: stancollins | March 19, 2009 12:35 AM | Report abuse

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