RFK Stadium
RFK Stadium (E Watson/EDI Photo)

Plans have been made to renovate the RFK Stadium-Armory grounds in Southeast, but stakeholders must persuade Congress to get on board.

D.C. city officials and RFK management have all made efforts to gain Congress’ support of the project. In a most recent attempt, D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced a bill to add 50 years to the city’s lease of the stadium’s site with the National Park Service for a total of a 100-year period.

The current lease on the 190-acre RFK Stadium will expire in 2038 and will need a modification in order to redevelop the site’s facilities. It will be vacated soon when D.C. United moves to its new Audi Field Stadium at Buzzard Point in Southwest.

“The RFK Stadium site is in dire shape and has gone well past its intended lifespan,” Norton said. “It would be an absolute shame to let such a valuable and usable land go to waste. My bill will give D.C. the necessary stability and certainty required to get financing to bring the site into the 21st century.”

Norton said a lease extension would provide long-term stability needed to make the site more fitting to the legacy of Robert F. Kennedy.

The site is currently managed by Events DC, the city’s quasi-private sport and convention authority, for public outdoor recreational events.

“The lease extension will make it significantly easier to obtain funding sources in order to pursue building the types of facilities that have been suggested in the RFK Campus Redevelopment Proposal with a public-private partnership,” said an Events DC representative.

Mayor Muriel Bowser has even made attempts to extend the RFK Stadium lease. In March, she sent a letter to President Donald Trump asking for either a full transfer or 100-year extension of the grounds to the city, also asking for the clause that permits recreational activities only to open up for housing on the site, D.C. Curbed reported.

Trump has yet to respond to the report.

Events DC has also urged residents to express their support to Congress for RFK redevelopment in an online petition, garnering over 250 supporters.

Currently, short-term redevelopment plans include multipurpose sport fields replacing a parking lot; pedestrian bridges connecting the area to both sides of the Anacostia River; a market space along Oklahoma Ave.; a huge sports and recreation complex including zip-lines, go-karts, trampolines, batting cages and indoor fields; and a new Robert F. Kennedy memorial.

Events DC has presented three long-term redevelopment options, including a 65,000-seat stadium for the Redskins, a 20,000-seat arena, and a “no anchor” redevelopment where no particular tenant drives traffic to the space.

Robert Coomber, ANC commissioner of the district that includes the stadium grounds, communicated with constituents on the progress of the project on Twitter following a stakeholder meeting hosted by Events DC in July.

“Three synthetic fields proposed with two full-sized soccer and lacrosse fields and one multi-use field with two baseball diamonds. Still preliminary,” he reported.

Coomber expressed uncertainty when asked about the schedule of the redevelopment.

“Hopefully still on time,” he tweeted, referencing the late-2018 completion projection previously given by Events DC.

Tatyana Hopkins – Washington Informer Contributing Writer

Tatyana Hopkins has always wanted to make the world a better place. Growing up she knew she wanted to be a journalist. To her there were too many issues in the world to pick a career that would force her...

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