Home-grown Series: How a “bring it home” message sent to a NFL Franchise may affect the city’s landscape and it’s future

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Picture of RFK (Robert F. Kennedy) Stadium – Courtesy of Google Images

“Old Faithful”

If you are a resident of Washington, DC and have been prior to the departure of Washington’s Professional Football team, then you’ll probably remember how things were in the District during the 90s and at Robert F. Kennedy’s Stadium, also known as RFK. Located on East Capitol Street in Southeast, DC, RFK was home to three of the District’s major sports teams. These franchises would represent the NFL, MLS and the late addition of an MLB team, but it also hosted numerous concerts and entertainment events throughout the years of its operation.

On Thursday, August 29th, 2018, the District’s government sent a passionate plea, stating to “bring it back” on getting their NFL Franchise back during Washington’s Football Team “Welcome Home Luncheon”. Mayor Muriel Bowser and four city councilmen, including former DC Mayor and current Ward 7 Councilman Vincent Gray were in attendance accompanied by the owner of the team, Daniel Snyder.

Can change be good?

Over the years we have seen NFL Franchises return to their original markets or to new areas such as the LA Rams moving back to Los Angeles after years of residing in St. Louis. You can also mention the ever relocating of the Raiders as they embarked on journeys through LA and Oakland over the years and EVENTUALLY moving to Las Vegas. Both franchises have received warm welcomes from their fans and are eventually affecting development within the respective cities that they occupy.

The potential return of the Washington Franchise could possibly yield revenue increases within the city’s budget, prompting for more development in the midst of already in progress projects. Since the inception of Nats Stadium (Washington Nationals – MLB) and the recent opening of Audi Field (DC United – MLS), it has transformed two neighborhoods: Navy Yard and Buzzard Point in Southwest, DC (and in all fairness two really gentrified areas) into economic thriving forces within the District’s economy.

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Picture of Washington Nationals Stadium – Courtesy of Google Images
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Picture of DC United Audi Field – Courtesy of Google Images

For those of us who do know that stadiums are also typically the taxpayer’s responsibility, a few questions were raised from people East of the River whom ultimately want to know: “how does this help out our Wards of 7 and 8”, which are two of the most underserved wards in the District. As a result of lack of investment and development throughout the last 20 years or so, it appears that it has had its effect on people of both wards. The District’s government planned for such development and embarked on a project that was just completed recently in Ward 8.

At the site of the former St. Elizabeth’s Mental Health Institution will sit a new arena/entertainment center being built for the Washington Mystics (WNBA), Capital City Go-Go (G-League Team) and with the Washington Wizards (NBA)  primarily using it as their training facility. Jobs were created during this project and DC’s government made it a priority to hire DC residents (especially for those from Ward 7 and Ward 8). Washingtonians who are apprehensive of bringing back their beloved NFL Franchise will certainly want to know how it will help or hinder their pockets due to the return of football on Capitol Hill. Until ownership of Washington’s Professional Football team make a concrete deal with any government official (between the District, Maryland or Virginia) chances still look pretty good for Old Faithful to return within DC’s borders once again.

– Da’Von Yates

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