DC councilmember wants to cap city spending on new Wizards practice facility

- The Washington Wizards are planning to have a new practice facility built near the campus of the old St. Elizabeths Hospital in Southeast D.C.

But one council member wants to make sure the District doesn’t pay a penny more than the city has agreed to.

On Thursday, a public hearing was held that was contentious at times. More than 40 people signed up to testify during the long hearing.

D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At-Large) said she wants to cap how much the city can spend on the Wizards' new practice facility in Ward 8. The District has already agreed to pay over $50 million in taxpayer funds for the facility.

Silverman said she does not oppose the construction of the Wizards’ practice facility and 5,000-seat arena for the Washington Mystics, but she wants to make sure the city doesn't get stuck paying for the overrun costs.

“We are making a $50 million investment in the Wizards practice facility, and in fact, we are making a much larger investment in the St. Elizabeths project that will include housing and retail,” Silverman said. “I am fully supportive of those efforts. I just want to make sure that the investment that we make has a great return for Ward 8 and a great return for our city.”

The proposal has the support from several other council members, which has now delayed the approval of the contract until April 7.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has said she expects construction to be completed in 2018.

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