The Barry administration is working on plans to demolish Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium and help Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke build a modern home for his football team if Cooke's stadium negotiations in Prince George's County collapse, according to administration and other sources.

D.C. Mayor Marion Barry met Cooke on Tuesday as part of his effort to entice the 83-year-old multimillionaire to stay in the District if he is unable to reach agreement with Maryland and Prince George's officials over construction of a stadium in the suburbs, the sources said.

Barry, asked yesterday about meetings with Cooke, denied giving the team owner any "plans" for a new stadium but said, "I have expressed great interest in getting him here if the deal falls through in Prince George's."

Although stalled at the county level, negotiations over the Prince George's site have been continuing. Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) is trying to assemble a package of state financial incentives that he hopes Cooke will accept. County Executive Wayne K. Curry (D), on the other hand, has offered no public assistance and has refused to say whether he thinks a deal with Cooke can be struck.

In case those negotiations fail, city officials said yesterday, they are readying their own proposal for Cooke.

According to sources, Barry told Cooke on Tuesday that he would support building a new stadium near RFK and then tearing down the aging coliseum. Sources said he also raised the possibility of adding a convention center or other entertainment facility in the area, although he did not discuss how it would be funded. Cooke would pay to build the stadium.

Administration sources said that along with the RFK plan, Barry has scouted possible stadium sites near Buzzard Point in Southwest Washington and on New York Avenue in Northeast Washington to offer to Cooke.

"The mayor wants us to stand prepared" to open talks with Cooke promptly if the Prince George's deal falls apart, said D.C. Secretary Marianne Coleman Niles, counsel to the city sports commission. "We remain prepared at any point that Mr. Cooke wants to resume serious negotiations."

Sources familiar with the stadium talks said Cooke still considers the Prince George's site his best hope for getting a facility completed rapidly.

Overall, one of the sources said, "I wouldn't say that the District is off {Cooke's} radar screen, but it's on the edge."

Cooke was negotiating a plan to build a new stadium near RFK with then-Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly (D) when he decided to abandon the city twice, in 1992 and 1993, in search of a suburban site. He's still looking, having been driven away from proposed sites in Northern Virginia and Anne Arundel County by local opposition.

A potential Redskins departure has been a sensitive topic for Barry (D) since he regained the mayor's office.

Cooke has stronger ties with Barry then he did with Kelly, and the administration would welcome a chance to strike its second major league sports deal. Abe Pollin, owner of the Washington Bullets basketball and Capitals hockey teams, is building a downtown arena and abandoning Prince George's County.

On the other hand, city officials say they are concerned about interfering with Curry's discussions and antagonizing a municipal neighbor and also about potentially being used by Cooke as a way to increase the bargaining pressure on Curry and Glendening.

Consequently, although city officials have been discussing how they might keep Cooke in town, they publicly maintain they will not pursue a deal until the situation in Prince George's is resolved.

"We are not going to be in a bidding war with Prince George's County," Niles said.

"Talks have occurred," said D.C. Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4). "It makes sense for the District to develop a strategy in the event that the Curry-Cooke negotiations don't work."

Administration sources familiar with the proposal said the city would pay for any street improvements or other infrastructure costs associated with a new stadium, while Cooke would pay to build the facility.

Earlier plans for a second stadium near RFK were plagued by neighborhood complaints, environmental concerns and a dispute in Congress over what some members viewed as the team's racially insensitive name and the use of federal land for private profit.

The potential environmental problems could be eased if RFK were demolished first and a new stadium built where it stood. But sources familiar with the stadium talks said that Cooke has reservations about knocking down RFK before a new stadium is ready.

"Cooke would have problems playing elsewhere during construction," a source said. "The University of Maryland is the closest place, and {Cooke} is afraid that he would lose fans because of massive traffic backups."

Fern Shepard, a staff lawyer for the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, said that although razing RFK to build a new stadium is a far better proposal than building another football arena next to the current one, there still would be significant environmental issues to address.

"There are going to continue to be concerns about volume of traffic, air quality and overall effects on the quality of life in the adjacent neighborhoods, especially Kingman Park," Shepard said.

Sources familiar with the talks said Barry first broached the topic with Cooke at a meeting at Redskins Park about 1 1/2 months ago. He told the team owner that after construction of a state-of-the-art football facility near RFK, the old stadium would be demolished. Staff writers Serge F. Kovaleski, Terry M. Neal and Yolanda Woodlee contributed to this report.