Bid to transform RFK site as Commanders home



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Washington Commanders Stadium update July 2023 Image: FedExField, Bernard Gagnon, CC BY-SA 3.0

The transformation of the old RFK site in Washington (US) into a brand new stadium for the National Football League (NFL) team Washington Commanders could be one step closer if Federal legislation is passed.

‘wusa9.com’ stated that a spokesperson for Representative James Comer confirmed that they are “preparing legislation” that would allow D.C. to develop the RFK site into a new Washington Commanders football stadium or into another mixed-use development.

The exact details of the legislation have not been finalized.

The 45,423-capacity Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, commonly known as the RFK Stadium and originally known as the District of Columbia Stadium, is a defunct multipurpose stadium in Washington, D.C. (US). It is located about two miles due East of the U.S. Capitol building near the West bank of the Anacostia River and next to the D.C. Armory.

The Washington Commanders are a professional American football team based in the Washington metropolitan area. Known as the Washington Redskins until 2020, the team competes in the National Football League (NFL) as a member of the National Football Conference East division.

The FedExField is an American football stadium located in Summerfield, Maryland, five miles East of Washington, D.C. (US). The stadium is the home of the Washington Commanders of the National Football League (NFL). From 2004 until 2010, it had the largest seating capacity in the NFL at over 91,000. As of 2022, the capacity is 62,000.

Informed Austin Hacker, a spokesperson for Representative Comer, “As Chairman Comer mentioned at the hearing with the D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, he is interested in working with her and the City on a wide variety of issues including the RFK Stadium site. The Committee staff continues to have fruitful discussions with the Mayor’s team and other stakeholders on these issues.”

A source revealed, “(It’s a) demonstration of the club and the City’s strategic shift in approach to get this done.”

‘wusa9.com’ further stated that Representative Comer, a Republican, is the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, a powerful body that oversees D.C. legislatively. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the sole representative in Congress for the District, criticized the Bill in a statement sent out recently.

She wrote, “Chairman Comer has repeatedly demonstrated a fixation for meddling in D.C.’s affairs in his committee’s recent hearings. Even though he is not a D.C. resident and he does not represent D.C. in Congress. The future of the RFK site should be decided by a consensus between the D.C. Council and the Mayor, who have been entrusted to represent the best interests of the D.C. residents.”

Delegate Norton previously pushed for legislation that would have authorized the sale of the land to D.C. for development. She has opposed Congress dictating the terms of development.

In a May statement, the Commanders stated that they have a vision for the RFK site, although they are maintaining conversations with other jurisdictions as well.

Stated a Commanders spokesperson in May, “We are communicating with stakeholders at the Federal and local level, sharing our vision for a potential venue that will create jobs and economic growth for the region and be compatible with the surrounding community and the elected leaders of the District.”

The NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell also pledged the league’s support in Congress to Mayor Bowser in a December phone call.

Some on the DC Council, including Chair Phil Mendelson and the Council Member Charles Allen, remain opposed to this idea saying the RFK land should be used for affordable housing.

But in late April, Council Member Kenyan McDuffie, Chair of the Economic Development Committee, became the highest-ranking Council Member to publicly endorse the Mayor’s plan to bring the team back to the RFK site.

New York (US)-based the National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league that consists of 32 teams, divided equally between the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference.

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