RFK Stadium is crumbling, D.C. residents want new structure

RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. (WJLA)

WASHINGTON (WJLA) – It’s no secret that RFK Stadium, the former home of the Washington Redskins, is old. Now, pictures of a crumbling press box have many people saying it’s time to retire the stadium.

After 53 years, you can expect a little wear and tear, but El Tiempo Latino Sports Editor Miguel Guillarte didn’t expect the stadium to literally fall apart while he was there Wednesday night covering the Guatemala vs. El Salvador soccer match.

“The fans were jumping and yelling and we were in the press box,” Guillarte said.

Then, suddenly, a big chunk of concrete dislodged from a stadium overhang and fell with a thud onto a ledge, just in front of Guillarte and other reporters in the press box.

“That’s a big chunk that could have seriously hurt somebody,” said D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans, one of the driving forces for building a new soccer stadium near Nationals Park in Southwest Washington.

Evans says this incident makes it clear that RFK Stadium has about outlived its usefulness.

“That shouldn’t be falling apart that easily, when you think about it,” said D.C. resident Eric Mate. “Obviously, renovations need to be done.”

RFK was given a facelift when the Nationals moved to Washington in 2005. But only routine maintenance has been done to the decaying stadium since. The city has spent $10 million renovating RFK in the last two years.

“The cost of doing anything to RFK Stadium is way more expensive than tearing it down and building a new stadium,” Evans said.

Built in 1961, RFK Stadium is clearly showing its age.

“They should have demolished that thing a long time ago,” said D.C. resident Mimi Hood. “It’s pretty unstable. It looks old.”

Events DC, which runs and operates RFK stadium, brought in a team of engineers Thursday to inspect the structure and make any necessary fixes before RFK Stadium hosts a Howard University football game on Sept. 13.