How strong is opposition to a new Capitals and Wizards arena in Alexandria from those who live closest?

FILE - A general view showing the site for a proposed new stadium for the Washington Wizards NBA basketball team and Washington Capitals HNL hockey team, Dec. 13, 2023, in Alexandria, Va. Virginia lawmakers are set to take up legislation to enable Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin's plan to build a new professional sports arena and entertainment district in Alexandria. The legislation is expected to be among the most high-profile issues legislators grapple with during the 2024 session, which begins Wednesday. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, file)(AP/Alex Brandon)

The effort to build a new sports arena in Alexandria hit a major speed bump earlier this month when Virginia lawmakers decided to leave funding for the complex out of the state budget. A new poll suggests some of those who live near the site are OK with that.

The Del Ray Citizens Association, a membership group of residents and business owners in the Alexandria neighborhood, surveyed its members over the last half of February. Out of 540 people had either fully or partially completed the questionnaire, more than half — 58% — were against the proposed arena for the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals.

The survey was emailed to 1,244 people, including residents living in the Rosemont, Lynhaven and Hume Springs areas of Alexandria.

While the majority of respondents said they were against or strongly against the proposal, about 28% of the respondents were either somewhat or strongly supportive of the plan. Around 12% had mixed feelings about the project.

The biggest reasons cited for opposition tended to focus on concerns about traffic, parking and the cost to city taxpayers. Decreased property values and the morality of team ownership and investors were the lowest ranked reasons for the opposition.

Those who were in support of the project cited the economic impact the city of Alexandria would see by expanding its commercial tax base.

In February, a study conducted by HR&A Advisors, a real estate consultant firm, for the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, found that the Monumental Sports & Entertainment teams move to Virginia would have a big impact on jobs, estimating the project would create 29,555 permanent jobs for the state compared to 12,330 without the sports development. The firm’s analysis is based on a business model prepared for Monumental Sports & Entertainment by CSL International.

Last summer, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the population in Alexandria was more than 155,000 people.

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John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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