Nats Officials Confident About Stadium's Progress

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Washington Nationals co-owner Mark Lerner said yesterday that he is "very optimistic" there will be enough parking for fans when the District's stadium opens next spring. But he cited no specific progress in finding the thousands of spaces that are expected to be needed.

"We're working hard on it," Lerner told reporters during a tour of the stadium construction site in Southeast Washington. "We have a team of people who are working on it. . . . All the local developers around the stadium are being very cooperative. We're very optimistic we'll be able to secure additional parking."

The publicly financed $611 million project includes garages that will accommodate about 1,200 premium ticket holders. But planners have said that on nights when the ballpark is sold out, about 8,000 more spaces will be needed for fans who do not use Metro.

The project, which began last spring, is being overseen by the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission.

Officials said construction of the 41,000-seat ballpark is on schedule and within budget. "People ask me all the time, 'Stan, is the stadium going to be ready?' " said Stan Kasten, the team's president. "I always tell them, drive down South Capitol Street and look. You cannot have any doubt."

-- Paul Duggan

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