Thanks, Mayor Will--er, Fenty...!
Mayor Adrian M. Fenty is famous for walking door-to-door across the city to win election. But apparently he missed Brendan Owens, the vice president for LEED technical development for the U.S. Green Building Council. Today, at a news conference to kick off this weekend's opening of Nationals Park, Owens was called upon to present a LEED silver-level certification award marking the stadium as the first "green" ballpark in the country.
Only problem: Owens promptly referred to Fenty as "Mayor Williams" during his speech. As onlookers snickered, Fenty tried to surpress a grin. But when Owens made the mistake a second time, Fenty cut in, putting his arm around Owens and cracking: "You can call me whatever you want, as long as you call me mayor."
Everyone laughed. "I got caught up in the moment," Owens said in an interview afterward. "You're not going to quote me, are you?"
Speaking of former mayor Anthony A. WIlliams (D), he was conspicuous by his absence, though Fenty did acknowledge him during his remarks.
As for other dignitaries on hand today, after the jump we offer a sampling of key players in the stadium development and their thoughts on the eve of the grand opening:
Allen Lew, former chief executive of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, who also oversaw construction of the Washington Convention Center: "When we built the Convention Center, we had a punch list of 22,068 [minor] items that were still not finished. We finished them over six months. [After the six months] there were six things left that we hadn't done. The board of directors wanted to use that against me to withhold my bonus. I said, 'Okay, we'll get those done in two more days.'"
Gregory O'Dell, current chief executive of the sports commission: "We'll have a sizable punch list. Things like dents in furniture, or wood that needs to be refinished. The biggest thing might be a television in a luxury suite that needs to be replaced. Now we just have to manage the schedule to get the workers in and out and not disrupt operations."
Stan Kasten, Nationals president: "You're not going to like this, but this is just another milestone. We have a lot of work to do to get where we want to be."
Mark Lerner, team co-owner: "I can't wait until tomorrow to see the look on people's faces. We need a camera up there to record the first fans who come in the gate."
Greg Colevas, vice president of Clark Construction, which also helped build the Convention Center: "I'm from D.C. I remember going to Senators games as a kid. This is so much more exciting than the Convention Center because it's sports. This is special. I'm going to bring my [five] kids and hopefully someday they'll bring their kids."
Joe Spear, stadium architect from HOK Sport: "Every city I go into, I tell the client, 'The most important design decision you will make is the site.' This is a great site because it has changed the neighborhood. My next job will be in St. Petersburg for the [Tampa Bay] Rays. If you can imagine a big boomerang [as the seating bowl], with a 350-foot mast in center field and a canvas canopy that can extend to cover the playing field. It can open and close. It'll be ready in 2012."
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