Nationals Park retractable roof plan dismissed by Mayor Vincent Gray

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

(WJLA) - Less than half a decade after his brand new, waterfront ballpark opened, Washington Nationals owner Ted Lerner went to the city earlier this year to ask for a retractable roof for Nationals Park, according to multiple reports.

Unsurprisingly, according to the Washington Post and WNEW, the $300 million proposal - which would have been funded with taxpayer dollars - was swiftly dismissed.

As first reported by WNEW, team officials, including Lerner, approached D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray at some point in 2013 with a proposal for the city to pick up the tab on building a retractable roof over the open-air ballpark, where fewer than 50 games have been delayed or rained out since opening in 2008.

But the meeting between Lerner and Gray lasted just about 15 minutes, the Washington Post says, before the mayor said no.

"Getting the stadium done in the first place was hugely controversial," Gray told the Post. "And now a roof? I'm not prepared to do that."

The District of Columbia owns Nationals Park and the team holds a 30-year lease. It cost more than $789 million to build the stadium, with hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars going toward its construction.