Photo by Brad Smith/ISIPhotos.com
By RYAN TOLMICH
In the latest set of delays for the D.C. United stadium project, District Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said Tuesday that it would require four separate committees to evaluate and approve the planned proposal before it heads to a final vote, according to the Washington Post.
In addition to Mendelson, the stadium will need to be approved by a trio of other district lawmakers: Economic Development chair Muriel Bowser, Government Operations chair Kenyan McDuffie and Finance and Revenue chair Jack Evans.
While Evans has long been a supporter of the stadium deal, the other three have been much more noncommittal throughout the process, including Bowser, who is a mayoral nominee. The deal is unlikely to be discussed fully by the group’s mid-July summer recess, meaning voting will likely occur in the fall at the earliest. Rather than voting on the proposal in the Committee of the Whole, which would have required one vote, Mendelson chose to vote by committee, delaying the process.
The voting process is just the latest in a series of close calls and missed deadlines, as outgoing Mayor Vincent Gray has made it a priority to complete the stadium deal before leaving office January 2, 2015. However, according to The Washington Post, local lawmakers are much less interested in Gray’s policies due to his impending exit.
Gray’s latest proposal brought forth the idea of swapping a city building, the Frank D. Reeves Center, and $37 million to developer Akridge in exchange for the land desired for the stadium. However, numerous politicians, including Bowser, voiced concerns with the proposal.
In her current role, Bowser could block any major land swap and, if elected mayor, Bowser has already stated that the stadium project would be put on the back burner.
“I get concerned about the land swap idea,” Bowser said, “especially for the Reeves Center with the numbers that I have heard being bounced around about what people think it’s worth.”
“I don’t know that that’s my first priority,” Bowser added about the stadium project. “My priority would be making sure that we are meeting a whole lot of capital needs that the city has, including how we’re going to transform middle schools across the city.”
Meanwhile, the committees are in no rush to get the deal done.
“As much as I like the mayor, this should not be about passing this before the mayor goes out of office,” said Mendelson. “There’s an urgency in that there’s a live deal that needs to be approved or disapproved. That ought to happen without unnecessary delay. But if the goal is, we want to get this passed quickly because we want to get this passed quickly, that would not be responsible.”
The committee’s opening meeting will be headed by Mendelson and may or may not include the other three committee heads. The first meeting is scheduled for June 26, coincidentally during the U.S. Men’s National Team’s final group stage match against Germany.
What do you think of the handling of the stadium approval process? Will the stadium vote ever get passed?
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