The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Redskins narrow training camp spots in Richmond
BY ZAC BOYER
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
ASHBURN—Gov. Bob McDonnell said today the Washington Redskins have chosen four potential sites in Richmond to hold their training camp next year, and the team will visit those locations sometime in the coming week for final evaluations.
The governor, who made the announcement at the Redskins’ “Fan Appreciation Day,” pledged a financial package in June that would move the three weeks of training camp south in exchange for state assistance in renovating Redskins Park, the team’s year-round headquarters in Ashburn, Va.
The state would make a $4 million investment and Loudoun County would pledge $2 million, while Richmond has earmarked $400,000 to fund capital improvements at the training camp site. The Redskins will put $30 million in renovations to their existing facility, which was constructed in the early 1990s.
“They knew that to have one of the most valuable franchises in America and to be able to keep pace with other world-class facilities that have world-class players, some upgrades needed to be done,” McDonnell said. “So part of our agreement was a significant investment, about $30 million, by the Washington Redskins that will take place here to expand and upgrade their training facilities.”
One team source, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t advised to discuss such matters, said team representatives are planning to meet with Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones on Sunday.
Asked to confirm that the two sides would meet in the coming days, per McDonnell’s statement, Redskins senior vice president of communications Tony Wyllie said the team had no comment.
When McDonnell announced the deal in June, he said the public contribution to the team will be beneficial because state and local tax revenue is worth approximately $9 million annually. But members of the House Appropriations Committee publicly objected to it later in the month because two similar plans were rejected during the General Assembly session.
McDonnell, who addressed fans earlier in the day, also said his understanding is that the team will open a Hall of Fame “or anything else the Redskins try to do to expand their corporation” in Virginia. The team had considered relocating its headquarters to one of several sites in and around the District, including on land near RFK Stadium, where it played from 1961-1996. It moved to FedEx Field in Landover, Md., for the 1997 season.
“For the taxpayers of Virginia, it’s a very good arrangement,” he said. “We get to keep a major corporation here. We get to grow significant jobs here, and the tax revenues will pay for that investment over a couple of years. It’s part of what our goal is here—to create the best business-friendly state in America.”
Zac Boyer: 540/374-5440