Report: Mayor Gray Rejected Nats’ Plan to Build Roof Over Nats Park
WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – On Tuesday, WNEW’s Senior Correspondent Mark Segraves first reported that Washington Nationals executives had approached several District officials, including some inside Mayor Vincent Gray’s office, to propose building a $300 million roof over Nats Park.
Mayor Gray later told the Washington Post that Nats’ majority owner Ted Lerner pitched the idea to him in mid-July.
“What Lerner wanted to talk about was the possibility of a roof on Nationals Park,” Gray told The Post. “That was it. There was no discussion about how much it was going to cost and no further details.”
The plan, according to The Post, was to have the city build a retractable roof over the stadium.
Gray didn’t waste any time rejecting the idea. The meeting lasted just 15 minutes, The Post says.
Gray has had no further discussions on the matter, according to the report.
Nats Park, which opened in 2008, was funded by the District, with taxpayers contributing the nearly $700 million in building costs. The structure technically belongs to the city, which means the Nationals organization would have to run any renovations, particularly one as sizable as a new roof, by city officials.
A CBSDC.com poll asking “Does Nationals Park need a roof?” revealed a stark aversion to the idea, with 50.72 percent of voters selecting “No. Horrible idea!” and 24.64 percent selecting “No, I don’t think so.” Only 17.39 percent selected a variation of the “Yes” response.
Gray recently proposed spending hundreds of millions of dollars to build a new soccer stadium for D.C. United, which currently plays at the rapidly deteriorating RFK Stadium.
The Council and the mayor recently approved $50 million to pay for improvements to the Verizon Center, including a new jumbotron.