WASHINGTON (7News) — As Washington Commanders fans wait with bated breath for the announcement of the new ownership, the battle is heating up for where the next stadium for the team will be built.
The team itself and Sen. Joe Manchin, of West Virginia who chairs the senate energy and natural resources committee, have reportedly been asking Congress to turn control of the RFK Stadium site over to the D.C. government. The land is currently owned by the federal government.
D.C. At-Large council member Kenyon McDuffie has also been very vocal recently about using the old site for a new state-of-the-art football stadium.
7News asked football great Brian Mitchell his thoughts, he played for Washington during the entire 90s, most of those years at the old stadium.
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“It is the Washington Commanders right so I think they should be playing in Washington. Listen, I think it would be a great move. You look at the success they had when they were there before. And also now you start looking at the way stadiums are made, you can still impact the community,” said Mitchell.
A Virginia stadium idea has fizzled out a bit. Last year, Virginia's General Assembly abandoned a stadium bill. However, the prospect of a sale also has lawmakers in Virginia taking steps that could lead to a reinvigorated push to take the team south.
Maryland has taken steps to make bonds available for possible stadium construction. Also, Prince George‘s County officials are backing a “Blue Line Corridor,” campaign, hoping a long list of redevelopment projects around FedEx Field will entice the organization to stick around past 2027 when the lease of the stadium is up.
SEE ALSO | Washington Kastles owner Mark Ein joins group led by Josh Harris to buy the Commanders
For years, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has argued that the RFK site is the best place for the Commanders to build a new stadium. The team played its final game in Northeast D.C., just west of the Anacostia River in 1996.
Those who oppose the idea question if it is the best opportunity for economic growth for the neighborhood. Brian Mitchell envisions a large mixed-use development.
“You know it’s not just a Stadium you throw in the middle, they throw a lot of different restaurants around it, living quarters can be around it, so I think some good things can come from it. I think it’s expected, necessary. You look at the guys, Josh Harris, I mean if it’s actually that group because they haven’t given us a final thing yet, I think it’ll be a great way,” added Mitchell.