WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - Some residents in D.C. are blasting the mayor's office amid a new report that Muriel Bowser has been working to bring the Washington Redskins back to the city.
It all stems from a Washington Post report that says Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has been working with the District, Republican lawmakers in Congress and the Trump administration to gain control of the site of RFK Stadium.
The Advisory Neighborhood Commission for the Hill East neighborhood invited Mayor Bowser to attend a meeting on Monday night to discuss plans about a possible new stadium. Instead, the mayor sent a representative from her office to the meeting.
According to the report, the Redskins have been working with local and federal officials to insert a provision into a massive spending bill that Congress is working on. The provision would extend the city’s lease over the 190-acre RFK site and allow for a new stadium and other commercial development to be built.
"Well, I can tell you that we have been working on getting control of federal lands in the District since I have been mayor and we are continuing to stay focused on it," Bowser said on Tuesday. "Obviously, RFK is important to us because we are no longer using the stadium itself because our team [D.C. United] has moved to Buzzard Point. We want to make sure we have control of the land for another 99 years at least."
However, neighboring residents oppose a new stadium and are unhappy about how the mayor is reportedly going about this. They say she is going behind their backs and are angry about it.
“Are you kidding me?” said ANC commissioner Denise Krepp. “The mayor has never been here. The mayor has never stepped foot in Hill East and said to neighbors, ‘What do you think about this? What are your plans? What are your thoughts? Do you like the idea?’ Do you want the Redskins to come?’ She has never done that before.
“I’m a little disappointed, I’m a little frustrated that the mayor decided to send somebody here to blow smoke. That is what happened tonight. They blew smoke yet again.”
“I think it’s a slap in the face to Washingtonians,” said Francis Campbell, who has resided in Hill East for 41 years. “I think it’s a slap in the face to all of us who have worked so hard to try to get something positive done with the Reservation 13 property … Angers me beyond belief. I can’t tell you how irritated and frustrated I am with this because again, this is an established neighborhood. There is a residential neighborhood and it’s people who have gone through the worst times, and there has been no consideration for any of it.”
D.C. Councilmember Charles Allen has spoken out against a new Redskins stadium, tweeting in response to the Washington Post’s report.
Trump & GOP helping Dan Snyder build a new stadium at RFK? Every dollar & square foot we put into a stadium, parking lots, & oceans of asphalt is one that we’re not putting into affordable housing or local businesses or parks and green spaces. #HailNo https://t.co/lCIAdFumpD— Charles Allen (@charlesallen) December 7, 2018
Allen tweeted, “Trump & GOP helping Dan Snyder build a new stadium at RFK? Every dollar & square foot we put into a stadium, parking lots, & oceans of asphalt is one that we’re not putting into affordable housing or local businesses or parks and green spaces. #HailNo”
“Nobody has seen that yet, but that is what the article states – that language has kind of made this debate,” said Ketan Gada, the representative from the mayor’s office who was sent to Monday night's meeting. “But that was something that the mayor had already asked from the administration about a year ago. So for some reason, even if that language makes it to the legislation, that is not new information because it was something that the mayor already discussed or had requested from the Trump administration.”
The mayor’s office sent us a comment Monday night referring us to a letter she sent to President Donald Trump in March 2017 that asked him to give D.C. control of the RFK site, Franklin Park and three golf courses.