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Yes to a soccer stadium, but not near Nats Park

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Old proposal for a Poplar Point stadium.

DCist reports that DC United is considering four sites in the city for a potential soccer stadium, and that one of the sites is a couple of blocks from the Nationals baseball stadium on South Capitol Street. DCist says:

The idea of a sporting complex featuring a United stadium near the Nationals’ home field is certainly something which makes some sense, mimicking other cities who have a similar arrangement like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

Other cities may do it, but it’s a bad idea. While the prospect of an in-town soccer stadium certainly has potential, it would be a mistake to locate it in the same neighborhood as the baseball stadium, or any other large sports facility. Stadiums take up a lot of land, and while they generate periodic large crowds, putting multiple stadiums in close proximity to each other reduces the mixed-use potential of their neighborhood. One stadium can be an anchor for diverse surrounding land uses, but multiple stadiums makes for a sports ghetto rather than a living neighborhood. Those sporting complexes in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Baltimore make some sense if you’re a suburbanite driving in, but none of them are urban neighborhoods approaching the quality of Gallery Place.

I’m all for using stadiums as a tool to bring people into the city, but people are already coming to the area around Nats Park. Rather than adding a redundant use to a neighborhood that won’t benefit from it, let’s put a stadium for United someplace where it will do good – someplace that needs the attention.

January 19th, 2011 | Permalink | {num}Comments
Tags: development



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