Washington: Citizens against the new DC United stadium?

source: WashingtonPost.com

Washington: Citizens against the new DC United stadium? Recent poll by Washington Post suggests that for every enthusiast of the planned football stadium there are two opponents. Almost 60% don't think engaging public money in this project is a good idea.

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Earlier in January the Washington Post commissioned a poll. 1,003 citizens were asked about various aspects of mayor Vincent Gray's work before the upcoming election.

One of the key topics is the planned football stadium at Buzzard Point. Expected to boost local economy in this industrial part of southern Washington, the stadium would require some $150 million from public funds to secure land for investment from several small owners. The venue itself would be financed by DC United, who hope to get 20,000-25,000 at a price of $150+ million.

DC United new stadium

However, public opinion on a city-financed soccer stadium has not changed appreciably since 2008, when the last serious talks took place about a deal with DC United. At that time, 60 percent of residents opposed using public funds to finance a soccer facility, with 39 percent supporting. The new poll showed 59 percent opposing the current plan, with 35 percent in favor. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

In an interview Monday, Gray said he is convinced the soccer stadium would be a “catalyst” for development on Buzzard Point, a largely industrial area southwest of Nationals Park bordered by public housing to the north and the walled-off Fort McNair to the west.

“If you look at the baseball stadium, what goes east from the baseball stadium has really started to take off and develop, whereas west of the baseball stadium, really nothing has happened over there,” he said. “I think there will be a tremendous return to the city that we have not seen at all in that area.”

The baseball stadium, which saw financial contribution from the city at over four times the level expected with latest football project, is given by Washington Post as an example that public opinion may change. In 2002 the ballpark was judged as unnecessary by 50% people. Now vast majority of residents appreciate it.

Currently DC United have no stadium of their own and use another baseball ground in Washington, the RFK Stadium.

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