Thursday, February 14, 2008

Amidst Hope There Is Confusion and Doubt...

Clarke Realty's Proposal For The Poplar Point Development

By.Chris Pittman

I can't lie. Yesterday when I heard that our new buddy(?) Adrian Fenty is now planning to propose public funding for the building of a stadium at Poplar Point, I nearly jumped out of my seat. News like this has been a long time coming, and I for one was pretty psyched. But...

After a few hours my conscious started to kick in and I realized just how unjust this is (if true) for the taxpayers within The District. I love D.C. United, but I originally invested myself in this whole debacle because there seemed to be a sort of moral battle in this issue. I didn't like the idea of the government going through with a development that seemed to not have the best interests of the citizens in hand. I firmly believed (and still do) that any development at Poplar Point without a "privately" financed United stadium would be a failure.

Now after getting a little more information regarding what exactly Fenty is proposing I have to honest and say that I'm downright confused. I think the choice to partner with Clarke is wise since they, by far had the best plan for both the city, the people, and the team. I just cannot understand the numbers and logic behind the Mayor's decision. Why would he offer public financing? He has to know that the city will also have to cover the infrastructure costs? This now almost doubles the districts bill?

After politically shooting down United's plan months ago it seemed as if United would never get Fenty's full support. He had cut off all negotiations and publicly distanced himself from the team. So why now all of the sudden has his tune changed? Why now has he decided to throw up more money than was originally asked for?

My only guess would have to be that Fenty must have finally felt some real growing pressure from PG county's bid for the team. Looking at the numbers the Mayor had to have realized that The District is better with United, than without. So now he is about to make, what appears to be a hasty political bid to keep the team in The District... on his terms. Who knows how MacFarland will react to this offer. My gut tells me that he and the United front office will take it as a positive sign and re-start negotiations with The District. They most likely won't be interested in a deal that requires them to submit to the DCSC, so I wouldn't be surprised if this drag's out over the next few months before we get any definitive answers on who will pay for and own the stadium.

This seems to be a positive step, but the team and the city both need to see that this gets done in a way that doesn't forget the peoples interests. United has waited too many years for this stadium to just let it slip by. They'll work hard to see that it gets done right.

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