Aides to District Council members met afternoon to try to talk through some of the details of a possible soccer stadium at Poplar Point in Ward 8. The Washington Post reported this morning that council legislation is in the works that could be introduced as early as Tuesday in support of the project. The legislation would call for the city to pay $150 million toward a 27,000-seat stadium.
Council members Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) are leading the charge for a stadium on the east side of the Anacostia River and have been lobbying their colleagues to win a majority.
But the issue is an explosive one, given the two-year fight over the Nationals Park project, which just opened and cost the city more than $611 million. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty understood the explosive nature of things a few months ago when he floated the idea that he was now ready to talk about a soccer stadium. But Fenty was in a bit of a pickle on the issue, considering that as a council member he was a vocal opponent of the Nationals stadium project.
So the mayor passed the ball to the council.
Whether Evans and Barry are going get anywhere remains a question. The stadium idea isn't going to be any less of a touchy issue for some council members than it was for Fenty.
Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray, reported to be among those in support of the legislation, told Washington Post Staff Writer David Nakamura today that he didn't think things would be moving so fast as to get legislation on the table by Tuesday.
Another sign that folks may be a little skittish: Today's meeting was initially supposed to be a meeting of council members, the Chief Financial Officer and the mayor's office, but that got changed. Instead of top officials, staff members gathered to see if everyone is on the same page.