SEABROOK – Following the announcement that state officials will no longer pursue talks with the Washington Redskins on building a stadium on federal lands in Oxon Hill, Prince George’s County officials say Gov. Larry Hogan and County Executive Angela Alsobrooks have had no formal conversations on building a new home venue for the local football franchise.
According to Deputy Chief of Staff John Erzen, the Alsobrooks Administration did not have any formal discussions with the team or Hogan’s staff on a proposed project on building a stadium on Oxon Cove park lands, which sit about three miles away from the National Harbor.
“We were never involved in any discussions with the governor or the Redskins about Oxon Cove or any other piece of land in the county,” Erzen said. “That was something all being done by the governor’s office. As a matter of fact, the county executive and the governor never really had anything more than preliminary discussions about a desire of keeping the Redskins in Prince George’s County but it never went further than that.”
While saying that the county would “love to keep the Redskins,” Erzen said that at the moment, the administration is focus on making sure other residential priorities are funded first. Alsobrooks touted education and county beautification as her main objectives to complete in her first community conversation event on Jan. 30.
After her inauguration, the Redskins gave Alsobrooks a jersey but officials say that it was presented as gift and not a sign of anything else. County officials insisted that no formal talks have been had with the team.
“The county’s position on this is that we like the Redskins, we’re happy to have them and we would have an interest in trying to keep them here in Prince George’s County but not at the expense of funding our priorities,” Erzen said. “…We want to increase our commercial tax base so we do not have to so much of our budget funded on residential income taxes.”
Hogan will continue to his efforts to acquire the Oxon Cove property for other uses outside of a stadium, Communications Director Amelia Chassé said. The Oxon Cove Park and Oxon Hill Farm is a 300-acres of park land currently operated by the National Park Service. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.
“We are not continuing discussions with the Redskins regarding this site at this time, however, we are moving full steam ahead with acquiring state control of the Maryland Gateway in Prince George’s County from the federal government,” Chassé said. “We believe this site holds significant potential benefits for the region and the state, as does the proposal to expand protected federal parkland in Western Maryland. We are working closely with our federal partners to finalize the transfer.”
The governor first gave word of his efforts of a land swap for a stadium in December 2018, stating that he was having conversations with federal officials for the deal but that the state would not contribute any financing for the construction of a new stadium.
“We are not going to build a billionaire’s stadium, either,” Hogan said to reporters. “We have no interest whatsoever, and there have been no discussions, ever, about us spending one penny in construction.”
Councilmember Monique Anderson-Walker (D-District 8) told local media outlets that she felt “blindsided” by Hogan’s attempts to build on the Oxon Cove property without talking to the county first. She held a local Town Hall Meeting at the Oxon Hill Library on Feb. 27 to talk to local residents on an array of topics, one of which will be the future of Oxon Cove, county council officials say.
Supporters of keeping the park and farm lands have been vocal in the opposition for the stadium idea including signing a change.org petition. Calvert County teacher Erin Frere started the petition in hopes of keeping the “beautiful National Park.”
“Generations of Washingtonians have gone there to escape city life,” Frere said on the petition page. “To bulldoze it for a stadium is an awful thing to do to the people of Prince George’s County and Maryland.”
The Redskins currently play at FedExField with a lease until September 2027. While the surrounding area around the Landover stadium will be improving in the future with the development of downtown Largo and the University of Maryland Medical Center, the team has reached out to Washington, D.C. and Virginia for stadium plans in recent years.
Team officials contacted the Prince George’s Sentinel but did not provide a comment.