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Mayor Anthony A. Williams 
Press release: Mayor Sends Improved Baseball Lease to Council
January 27, 2006




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Revised plan includes more private funds, new baseball academy for District youth and cap on construction costs

Mayor Anthony A. Williams today submitted a revised lease to the DC Council that ensures that no residential District taxpayers will pay a penny for the new South Capitol Street Baseball Stadium. The revised plan includes a cap on ballpark construction costs, a new baseball academy for District young people and more private funding.

The lease was accompanied by an unprecedented and highly detailed letter, signed by former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, who has worked as a mediator this month to break the baseball impasse. The letter, signed by Archer, Williams, the Sports Commission and Major League Baseball President Bob DuPuy, sums up the progress made to date, and lays out the new provisions added to assure District residents that the package is a good one.

"This package was hard-fought but worth it, because we've addressed and answered every possible concern District residents could have with the baseball agreement," said Williams. "We forced Major League Baseball to come up with additional concessions, we leveraged millions of dollars in new developer money from the private sector and we made headway in talks with the White House about helping to pay for needed Metro upgrades in Southeast. Most importantly, we agreed to put into place a construction cost cap, which ensures that regardless of outside factors, the ballpark will be built for a set amount."

"I'm grateful to Chairman Linda Cropp for her steady support of the stadium project and her hard work to win the support of a majority of her colleagues for the plan," added Williams. "I look forward to a speedy vote by the full Council so that we can break ground on the new ballpark this spring and bring the city a step closer to a new home for the Nationals."

"In years to come, we will look back at this deal as a watershed event for the city, a positive step forward that will pay dividends to District residents for generations to come," Williams said.

Under the deal, funds to pay for the stadium will come from four separate outside sources. 1. MLB will make rent payments to the District for the next 30 years, worth $92 million. 2. Fees on tickets, hotdogs and t-shirts sold at the ballpark will generate $369 million over 30 years - a fee system that makes sure that only people who attend games will pay for the ballpark. 3. The ballpark fee, which affects fewer than 2,000 businesses in the District, will raise $215 million over the 30-year period. 4. And finally, utility taxes assessed primarily on the federal government will raise another $215 million. This combined sum, $891 million, guarantees a revenue stream that will allow the District to build a beautiful ballpark, sparking a revitalization of an underdeveloped area of the District and giving people a new entertainment destination without ever having to tap into general fund revenue.

The new provisions include:

  • A cap on the total construction costs of the ballpark will be put into place and approved by the Council.

  • Residents will not be taxed to pay for the ballpark.

  • The District may use property on the ballpark site for private development.

  • MLB agrees to help create a new youth baseball academy with a $3.5 million contribution.

  • MLB agrees to increase the number of free tickets given to DC youth from 8,000 to 10,000 per year.

  • MLB agrees to hold a meeting in the District of all team owners before the summer of 2008.

  • Players will make a minimum of 50 youth, educational or charitable appearances a year in the District.

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