Thursday, November 11, 2004

Cropp agrees to compromise on ballpark

By Eric Fisher

D.C. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp and Mayor Anthony A. Williams yesterday agreed to a compromise that would keep on track his financing plan for a ballpark in Southeast.

Mrs. Cropp said she will bring the Williams proposal up for a full council vote by Nov. 23.

In return, the mayor and his allies on the council agreed to amend the Williams bill to provide for a six-month search for private financing for the ballpark.

The agreement ended five days of rancor over competing proposals, disputes that prompted fears Major League Baseball (MLB) would void its deal with the District to relocate the Montreal Expos to the city.

Private financing would not necessarily violate the District's deal with MLB.The city must produce a ratified financing bill for the Southeast site by Dec. 31. However, the financing structure can be altered afterward so long as the changes do not affect the ballpark itself or the team's revenue sources.

Several city officials said the prospects of finding a viable private source of stadium funds are uncertain and perhaps unlikely.

Private investors could not borrow against stadium revenues dedicated in writing to the Washington team. Nor could they disrupt a planned community benefit fund created through the establishment of a tax-increment financing district around the Southeast ballpark.

City officials also are concerned about the ramifications of yielding control of stadium construction to private entities.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Times website.