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Councilmember Jack Evans
E-mail to supporters of baseball stadium deal
October 21, 2004




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themail archives

Subject: FW: Baseball in DC
From: "Evans, Jack (COUNCIL)" <jackevans@dccouncil.us
Date: Thu, October 21, 2004 

Thank you for writing regarding the proposed plan to bring Major League Baseball back to DC. The Finance and Revenue Committee will hold a hearing on baseball on Thursday, October 28 starting at 10:00 am. The hearing will be televised on Channel 13.

As you probably know, I have been one of the most enthusiastic supporters of bringing baseball back to DC and I would like to take this opportunity to explain why supporting a return of Major League Baseball is the right move for the residents of the District of Columbia. Since the September 29th announcement that baseball would be returning to DC in April 2005, there has been a great deal of debate, both pro and con, regarding baseball and how stadium construction will be financed. The MCI Center sparked similar controversy when its construction was being debated. Just as the construction of the MCI Center spurred $4 billion in development and economic revitalization in the Gallery Place and Chinatown neighborhoods of downtown DC, I believe a baseball stadium will spur similar economic development on both sides of the Anacostia River.

The proposed site for the stadium is ideal. For decades, the Anacostia waterfront has been one of the least utilized urban waterfronts in the country. By adding a Major League Baseball stadium to the already promising development that has been proposed for both sides of the Anacostia River, the District of Columbia will transform its waterfront into one of the finest waterfronts in the country. Additionally, of the various site options that will generate economic growth, the Waterfront area is clearly the least expensive site for a stadium. The site also provides the least disruption to people and businesses. I do not take the District's use of eminent domain lightly, and will be very vigilant to ensure that the people and businesses that are displaced are fairly compensated and able to relocate within the District of Columbia if they so choose.

I would like to speak briefly about some "alternative" proposals that are being thrown about, apparently trying to force the former Expos to use RFK Memorial Stadium on a permanent basis. Let me say that these not real alternatives at all, because by refusing to construct a new stadium the District would be breaking its contract with Major League baseball. I cannot stress enough that a vote against a new stadium is vote against baseball returning to DC.

I have always been a firm believer in the saying that you have to spend money to make money, so let me briefly discuss the details of the stadium financing package and tell you why I believe that this is a good deal for District residents. Under the stadium financing package the District of Columbia will sell about $440 million in bonds, with the proceeds of the bond sale being used to finance land acquisition, stadium construction, and any other related improvements. In order to recoup the money on the bond sale the District will utilize a sales tax within the stadium and impose an additional assessment on the largest businesses in the District of Columbia.

The stadium financing package breaks down as follows:

  • At least $11 million for in-stadium taxes on tickets, concession, and merchandise;
  • $3.5 to 5 million for the lease of the stadium to its new owners; and
  • $21 million in a business receipts tax on District-based businesses with a minimum annual revenue of over $3 million.

It is important to note that not one penny for stadium financing will be taken from schools, health care, social services, or affordable housing funds to finance stadium construction. The funds to support baseball will come from the fans of baseball who attend games or from the District's 2,000 largest businesses who have recognized the benefits of investing in baseball in the District of Columbia. The best part of this deal occurs in the long run, because while the bonds will be repaid in 20 years, the District will continue to receive the benefits of the team's rental payments and revenue from sales taxes at the stadium. These funds could then be utilized by the City to continue our economic growth, fund educational or social services, and give our residents much needed property tax relief.

Major League Baseball will also draw fans in from outside the District of Columbia. Baseball fans who come into the District for an evening or a weekend trip will provide an infusion of dollars in the District's restaurant and hotel industry, which is crucial for continuing the recovery of these tourism-dependent industries after the severe economic downturn following September 11th.

For all of the reasons I have previously mentioned, I believe this financing package is a good investment in the future of Washington DC and I welcome your support for baseball returning to the District of Columbia.

Jack Evans
Councilmember, Ward 2

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