What's Next for D.C. United?
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."
March 18, 2009; 12:11 PM ET
Categories: Prince George's County , Rosalind Helderman
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