DC stuck waiting for feds before RFK Stadium plans can move forward

WASHINGTON — D.C. has very ambitious plans for Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium and the surrounding land — but nothing will happen until the National Park Service makes a decision.

“We need an extension of our lease, and we need the covenant removed that restricts the use of that land to only a sports and entertainment use,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said earlier this week.

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton is backing a bill in Congress to extend the District’s lease with the Park Service by 50 years — for a total of 100 years. The deal would be for the 190 acres that currently house RFK Stadium, its parking lots and some waterfront land.

But Bowser also asked President Donald Trump to just give that land to the District — along with three golf courses and Franklin Square in downtown D.C. So far, the president has not responded.

Bowser says D.C. remains interested in building a new stadium for the Washington Redskins — or an arena that could be a new home to the Capitals and Wizards. But renderings of the RFK complex envision a gathering place for several interests.

The “Asphalt to Action” campaign calls for the following:

  • Three multipurpose public recreation and community playing fields.
  • A market hall next to Kingman Park that will offer concessions, prepared food and groceries.
  • A sports and recreation complex for families, youth and amateur sports.
  • Three pedestrian bridges connecting the site to Kingman and Heritage Islands and improving pedestrian flow and access.
  • A memorial to Robert F. Kennedy that will be a place to gather and educate the next generation.

But Bowser also is championing a new element she says is vital to the area’s long-term stability.

“Any time you have that much land, it has to be considered for housing,” she said.

DC United is in the final weeks of its final season at RFK. It’s moving to a new stadium at Buzzard’s point. Its final regular season home game is scheduled for Oct. 22. RFK has booked a football game on Sept. 22 between Georgetown and Harvard.

While there are no other event listed on the Events DC website, the stadium remains available.

In an official statement, Events DC wrote:

There is no end date to close RFK Stadium. Events DC is continuing to plan events throughout the RFK Campus, including the Stadium, for the foreseeable future. At this time, D.C. United regular season games and the Georgetown-Harvard football game are the events booked in the Stadium until the playing surface is closed for the winter. Events DC and D.C. United are in constant communication to ensure the team needs are met as they construct and transition into their new facility. Events DC is having meaningful conversations with a variety of event promoters about utilizing the Stadium during and following the D.C. United transition.


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