Senate Gives Preliminary Approval to Baltimore Stadium Improvements and Prince George Revitalization Effort
The Maryland Senate gave tentative approval Friday night to two measures that senior officials in Baltimore and Prince George’s County have been pursuing since the start of this year’s legislative session.
One of the bills – House Bill 896 – would authorize the Maryland Stadium Authority to make $1.2 billion in upgrades to professional sports stadiums in the city. The funding would also be split between Oriole Park in Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium, home of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens.
It is unclear how the funding would be used, although most stadium renovations in the modern era have involved luxury boxes, premium seating, social gathering areas and sports betting venues. .
The other measure approved on Friday – House Bill 897 – would allow the stadium authority to spend $400 million on a range of recreation and entertainment venues in central Prince George’s County.
The facilities offered include:
- Magnetic charter school
- central library
- Cultural Center
- Basketball/volleyball court
- central avenue
- Wayne K. Curry Civic Plaza
The facilities would be built near FedEx Field, home of Washington commanders, as part of a “stadium neighborhood.” Commanders owner Daniel Snyder wants a new stadium and is said to be considering locations in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) hosted a meeting with Commanders Chairman Jason Wright at the governor’s mansion on March 31.
Unlike FedEx Field, which is isolated across from a former mall, Snyder wants his new stadium to be part of a “mini-city” that includes an upscale hotel, sports betting site and development. high-end mixed-use.
Prince George leaders say they intend to pursue their vision of “Downtown Largo” whether or not commanders build a new stadium next to FedEx Field.
On Thursday, Hogan and Prince George County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks (D) opened a cancer research and treatment center at the new Capital Regional Medical Center, part of the University Medical System of Maryland. He called the cancer center “just part of our bold plan for the future of Prince George’s County.”
“Through the vision of Alsobrooks County Executive, we join her on a shared commitment to move forward with a $400 million investment in the Blue Line Corridor project, to bring more jobs and economic development in this region,” he said.
(On Tuesday, gubernatorial candidate Rushern Baker (D), Alsobrooks’ predecessor, claimed “Downtown Prince George’s Entertainment District” at a social media postand he applauded the General Assembly for supporting “my proposal”.)
On Tuesday, the stadium authority’s board of directors voted to begin work on a memorandum of understanding with the Prince George’s County government that would allow the authority to oversee construction of the new venues.
Sen. Melony Griffith (D-Prince George’s) noted Friday that the stadium authority has built projects across the state in its 35-year history, but never in Prince George’s.
“This is a huge opportunity for us,” said Angie Rodgers, the county’s top economic development official.
The stadium authority has “the Good Housekeeping stamp of approval for these types of facilities”, she added.
Rodgers said the goal is to have an area that attracts visitors year-round, but only on football match days.
House Bill 896 does not include money to build a new Commanders Stadium, but the county’s memorandum of understanding would likely allow the authority to demolish FedEx Field. Snyder owns the stadium and the land it sits on, and the demolition would only happen under an agreement, multiple officials said.
In addition to funding Prince George venues, House Bill 897 would also authorize up to $200 million to upgrade minor league ballparks in Maryland and $27 million annually to fund public transit service. fast by bus in Montgomery County.