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Dec. 1, 2004

D.C. Council approves ballpark plan

by Alex Mazerov, Page Editor
This is not original reporting. Information has been compiled from The Washington Post article "Council Backs Waterfront Stadium."

Following months of political wrangling, the D.C. Council yesterday gave preliminary approval to a public financing plan for building a baseball stadium in Southeast along the Anacostia River that would serve as the Washington Nationals' permanent home.

The 13-member council voted six to four, with three members abstaining, to back Mayor Anthony William's proposal to construct a publicly funded waterfront ballpark, which is scheduled to open in 2008, near the Navy Yard and South Capitol Street, according to The Washington Post.

During a seven-hour meeting, the bill was amended several times before it passed. These amendments were aimed at curbing public spending. The added provisions permit city leaders to consider viable private financing options for the stadium and eliminated a stipulation in the original proposal that guaranteed $45 million for public libraries and $30 million for other community projects.

Another amendment instructed the city's chief financial officer to conduct a second cost analysis of the stadium construction project. If this new estimate is more than $100 million above the initial estimate of $530 million, the city must find less costly site for the stadium.

According to The Washington Post, the legislation was also modified to stipulate that more than half of all stadium construction apprentice jobs go to D.C. residents.

Under the approved plan, the stadium would be funded through a gross receipts tax on large D.C. businesses, a tax on tickets and stadium concessions and an annual rent payment from the team.

The bill will be voted on a final time on Dec. 14 or 21. Major League Baseball has given the D.C. government until Dec. 31 to approve the stadium deal.

The Nationals will play at RFK stadium for three seasons until the 41,000-seat stadium is completed. The team will play its first game in Washington on April 14, 2005, against the Arizona Diamondbacks.



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