D.C. residents at odds over future of RFK Stadium

Washington's football team returning to Washington? It's no secret District leaders would love to see that happen. In fact, the D.C. Council held a hearing Tuesday on the future of R.F.K. Memorial Stadium.

Pending legislation calls for a feasibility study, exploring the prospect of tearing down R.F.K. Stadium and building a 100,000 seat domed stadium with the hope of luring the Burgundy and Gold back to Washington.

Testifying at the hearing, District resident Ronald Dixon said, “The Redskins need to be in D.C. Because they are a destination. You can build on that.”

The team currently practices in Virginia and plays in Maryland, with a lease at Fedex Field that expires in 2027. D.C. Council members said that is just enough time to get the ball rolling and study the feasibility of a new stadium for Washington's hometown football team.

D.C. United – which plays at R.F.K. – plans to relocate to a new 25,000 seat stadium near National's Ballpark. That deal is still being worked out by Mayor Vincent Gray.

This plan – drafted by D.C. Council Member Vincent Orange – not only calls for a 100,000 seat domed stadium, but also a sports complex with an 18 hole PGA golf course, hotels, a sound-stage and an indoor water park.

Many believe such a complex would make the District a contender to host Super Bowls, maybe even the Olympics.

But not everyone is cheering for this game plan. Testifying at Tuesday’s public hearing, some neighbors expressed support for the proposal while others voiced opposition.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6B Chair Brian Flahaven lives three blocks from R.F.K. Stadium.

“There's only ten football games a year. That's only ten events a year. Plus maybe you get a concert here or there,” he said, “The rest of the year, the stadium is not open... it just sits there.”

Last year, the D.C. Council approved a resolution, urging team owner Dan Snyder to abandon the name Redskins because many find the word offensive.

But there was surprisingly little said at Tuesday's public hearing about that controversy or whether the name would need to change for both sides to reach such a major agreement about financing or building a new stadium.