Tuesday, November 09, 2004

D.C. mayor urges council to pass stadium proposal

Williams lobbies for waterfront site; alternate plan might be put to vote, too
By Jeff Barker
Sun Staff
Originally published November 9, 2004

WASHINGTON - Mayor Anthony A. Williams' plan to finance a baseball stadium headed for a tantalizingly close vote in D.C. Council today, as the mayor warned opponents that baseball won't deliver a team if the city scraps or tinkers with the original stadium proposal.

Williams said yesterday that he had secured the required seven votes for passage, but council opponents, who have complained about the stadium's cost, characterized his majority on the 13-member body as shaky. Williams said in the afternoon that, "We're trying to tighten them up and reinforce them [the votes]."

Later, the mayor appealed to the public in a rare televised address to approve the bill for a publicly funded stadium on the Anacostia River waterfront.

"For the sake of new jobs, homes, businesses - and a new river - I'm urging the council to pass it," Williams said in a taped speech broadcast last night on radio and a District cable station. "History is written in moments. In the story of our city, tomorrow is one of them."

The city has waited 33 years for a new team. On Sept. 29, city leaders announced they had reached an agreement with Major League Baseball to move the Montreal Expos here by spring.

Among those joining Williams at a raucous downtown celebration that afternoon was council chairwoman Linda W. Cropp. "I was singing with the best of them: 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame,' " Cropp said yesterday in her own recorded speech, broadcast last night on WTOP-AM.

Now, Cropp has emerged as the mayor's chief adversary. On Friday, she introduced a plan to instead build the new stadium adjacent to RFK Stadium, the former home of Washington's last team, the Senators. Original estimates put the price of the Anacostia stadium at about $440 million, including financing costs, but an analysis by the District's chief financial officer increased the cost to about $530 million.

Read the entire article here on the Baltimore Sun website.