- The Washington Times - Monday, April 4, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

As a fan of the NFL and an bigger fan of the Washington Redskins, it’s only natural that I weigh in on D.C.’s proposition to redevelopment RFK Stadium and its surrounding environs.

Like Redskins owner Dan Snyder, I remember the days when we rocked the sounds that were heard around Northeast and Southeast D.C. The aluminum bleachers in RFK — which literally rocked — told players and denizens alike that RFK was our house (win or lose).

Those days are long gone (since we mostly lose). The Redskins opened their new house in 1997. D.C. United began calling RFK home in 1996, and fans hopes the soccer club will get a new house in time for the 2018 Major League Soccer season.

Now D.C. officials are becoming publicly engaged to answer a single question: What to do with the RFK site.

Of course the development of the site must be multi-use because public funds will be put into any financial equation. For that reason alone, it cannot be Redskins only. Greenspace only. Washington Capitals/Washington Wizards only. Or concert and performance arts only.

And remember, the D.C. Armory needs a home, as well. Important, too, are the costs. The Wizards/Capitals/Mystics stakeholders are also considering looking for a new arena.

Build upon the proposition correctly, and they all will come.

While I am a diehard Redskins and Wizards fan, I am no fan of public giveaways, and by that I mean city officials, who are the gatekeepers of our public assets, should never hand over our assets to a money-making venture — regardless of the venture.

D.C. should not become, for example, a Baltimore or a Maryland, which paid for twin houses for the Ravens and the Orioles where Baltimoreans have yet to recoup their fare return.

Sure, the civic pride is routinely displayed, as are the joblessness, and pain and suffering of thousands of people who get a handout instead of a hand up.

D.C. wants to make money off the RFK site.

Mr. Snyder is looking for a new house for the Redskins.

This could be a win-win situation if D.C. officials play “our” cards right.

Mr. Snyder, who owns FedEx Field, knows what he wants and explained as much to Comcast SportsNet in the summer of 2014: “I’m going to be very retro with it. “It’s gonna feel like RFK. It’s gonna move like RFK. … I actually asked architectural firms to do it, and they said that they can do it. I said that I think the lower bowl sections are going to want to rock the stadium like the old days.”

The good ol’ days indeed — when our NFL “Warriors” called Washington their home.

• Deborah Simmons can be reached at [email protected]


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