Eleanor Holmes Norton
Eleanor Holmes Norton (Courtesy of NNPA Newswire)

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) has introduced a bill to sell the RFK Stadium site, unused federal land, to the District for fair market value — paving the way for sorely-needed property for the building of affordable housing, among other uses.

The stadium site, which is 190 acres, remains the largest track of unused land in the District. Norton, praised for her continued efforts in making land owned or controlled by the federal government available to the District, has been an integral force in initiatives to revitalize D.C. neighborhoods including the Wharf, the Capitol Riverfront and Walter Reed.

She said the purchase would significantly alleviate the District’s unmet need for more land on which vital projects could be developed.

“This vast, unused track of federal land has incredible potential in the hands of the District of Columbia,” Norton said. “Currently, the federal government gains no revenue from this site, nearly 90 percent of the 190-acre campus consists of parking lots, which do nothing to strengthen our local economy. The D.C. government can make full use of this land for purposes that benefit the community and our economy.”

The RFK stadium site is owned by the Department of the Interior and under D.C.’s current lease, it may only use it for recreation, stadium purposes, or open space. The lease is set to expire in 2038. The District has worked hard to identify creative utilization of the land but uncertainty surrounding long-term control has stymied investment and planning.

The sale of the RFK stadium site would strengthen the District’s ability to redevelop the site with the added freedom to consider options for additional green space, affordable housing, commercial development and other enhancements that would benefit the surrounding neighborhoods and the District as a whole.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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