Loudoun supervisor revisits possibility of Redskins Hall of Fame

January 11, 2012

In an effort to strengthen Loudoun’s relationship with the Washington Redskins and bolster the county economy, Supervisor Shawn Williams (R-Broad Run) sent a letter last week to Redskins Chairman Daniel Snyder to advocate for the construction of a Redskins Hall of Fame in Loudoun.

In the letter, Williams referred to the Redskins as “one of the most important employers” in his district and extended “an open invitation” to explore a partnership that would bring a Redskins Hall of Fame to Loudoun County — a proposal that sparked controversy when the issue came before the Board of Supervisors in 2008.

The earlier board initially rejected a two-year, $250,000 sponsorship deal with the Redskins in December 2008, after a debate among residents and county leaders over the use of taxpayer money to fund a marketing partnership that would align Loudoun with a corporate brand. The proposal called for spending $100,000 in transient-occupancy tax revenue for a one-year partnership with the team, during which the Redskins would closely associate the team’s national brand with Loudoun, according to county records. The agreement also included an option to spend an additional $150,000 to extend the deal for a second year and possibly develop a hall of fame.

The board’s rejection of the deal drew sharp criticism from many in the business community who said the county’s commercial economy would suffer dramatically if the Redskins organization, based in Ashburn, were to leave. The outcry prompted the board to reconsider the proposal, which was ultimately approved in February 2009, but the potential for a Redskins Hall of Fame was removed from the final marketing agreement.

In his letter to Snyder, Williams said he was disappointed by the board’s decision.

“As a citizen at that time, I was very concerned about the lost economic development opportunity, as well as the unfriendly message that was being sent to your organization and Redskins fans alike,” Williams wrote. “ I personally cannot think of a better location for the Redskins Hall of Fame than Loudoun County.”

Williams’s letter builds on the new board’s goal to bring jobs and businesses to Loudoun to strengthen the county’s commercial economy and lower property taxes. The previous board’s rejection of a potential hall of fame “sent the wrong message to the business community,” Williams said in a statement Thursday.

“I hope the Washington Redskins and this new board will reconsider,” he said. “I know Redskins fans would be thrilled to see the Hall of Fame here in Ashburn.”

Although the new board members campaigned on a platform of fiscal responsibility and conservative use of taxpayer money, Williams said, it was important to know when to make good investments in Loudoun’s long-term health.

“I want to make sure the Redskins stay in Loudoun, and that will be a great benefit for our future,” he said. “I know this new board always wants to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely, and I am fully committed to that end.”

Caitlin Gibson is a local news and features writer for The Washington Post.
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