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The D.C. Council is now fully behind a D.C. United soccer stadium at Buzzard Point, voting unanimously this morning on two bills approving the stadium deal.
Most controversy around the deal evaporated last week, when Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Still Mayor Vince Gray cut a deal on funding a package that doesn’t include swapping the Reeves Center for developer Akridge’s stadium land.
The next obstacle for the stadium involves convincing Akridge to hand over the land without receiving Reeves in a swap. If Akridge won’t part with its land, today’s Council vote authorized the District to use eminent domain, a process that could push the city’s cost above $150 million.
Most councilmembers used their dais time to praise the deal, with Vincent Orange casting an eye on what will replace D.C. United’s current home at RFK Stadium. (Maybe a water park!). Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans enthused that the stadium will keep United in the District.
“With the exception of the football team, there is not not one franchise in all of professional sports that uses the name ‘Washington’ but doesn’t play in Washington,” Evans said, in what LL might be tempted to read as burgundy-and-gold foreshadowing.
At-large Councilmember David Catania, speaking at what will be his final Council meeting, fretted over the deal’s $106 million in new debt, which he says will restrict future city budgets. Catania listed a number of other priorities he says are threatened by the new debt, including improving middle schools and funding for Metro.
Photo by Mike Madden