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Consensus Elusive on Plans for D.C. Land

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Mayor Vincent Gray is exploring the logistics of building a new training facility for the Washington Redskins, currently based in Ashburn, Va., on a portion of Reservation 13.

“Whatever we think about George [W.] Bush ... he was great for the District of Columbia,” Wells said. “He took a bunch of federal land and gave it to us. And that’s given us an opportunity to develop it and make it income tax-
producing land.”

‘Room for Other Things’

Gray is set to meet with community members at Stadium Armory this evening to share ideas and hear concerns. He hopes, spokesman Pedro Ribeiro said, to use the forum to tamp down speculation that a deal between the city and the franchise is a signature away.

“He’s going to go to the community and say, ‘I think a lot of folks are worried about something that in fact does not exist,’”
Ribeiro said.

On the other hand, Ribeiro suggested,  Gray hasn’t shut the door on the idea either. “A training facility is not a mutually exclusive thing. If we were to someday get something like that ... a training facility can be a part of an economic development package for that area, depending on how we put it into the mix,” he said.

All Redskins Senior Vice President Tony Wyllie would say to Roll Call was that the team is “exploring all of [its] options.”

If Gray does push forward, he will have a partner in Councilmember Jack Evans (D), who represents Ward 2. Evans said he is confident that a Redskins facility could work in tandem with other developments and the master plan’s vision for the area.

“There [would be] plenty of room for other things,” said Evans, who also stressed that nothing has yet been decided.

He told Roll Call he imagines a situation where RFK Stadium would be converted into a new Redskins stadium to sit near a new Reservation 13 development of “four practice fields, headquarters, training, hotel, a Hall of Fame and a concussion center.”

And while critics say a Redskins training ground would not contribute to the area’s quality of life or economic development, Evans said his vision, although a distant one, would absolutely be a boon.

“The Redskins are the city’s most marketable franchise,” he said.

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