Redskins officials reassure lawmakers

January 15, 1994|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Staff Writer

The tune that representatives of professional football magnate Jack Kent Cooke presented to the Howard County Council yesterday was music to council members' ears.

The county would share the benefits but not the costs of having the Washington Redskins professional football team play in a Laurel stadium built by Mr. Cooke, council members were told.

In addition to paying construction costs of $160 million for a 78,600-seat stadium adjacent to Laurel Race Course, Mr. Cooke and the Redskins organization have also set aside $36 million for road improvements, project manager Walter Lynch told the council.

Stadium planners will look at 70 intersections in the county as candidates for possible improvement, Mr. Lynch said. He said an airplane will take aerial photographs in the next week and traffic counters will conduct surveys over the next few months.

The impact on existing roads would be minimal because the Redskins would control parking and set up predetermined entrance and exit routes, Mr. Lynch said. "We know where our fans are coming from," he said. "We can direct people to get to the facility."

All 23,000 parking spaces proposed for the stadium would be sold at the same time ticket-holders ordered season tickets, he said. No other on-site parking would be available.

Parking space purchasers would have a specific parking assignment imprinted on their game ticket and would be given travel directions from their point of origin. They would not be allowed to park elsewhere.

Everyone else would have to use rapid transit, Mr. Lynch said. Fans could take one of 300 buses or ride the Maryland Rail Commuter Service train. The train would stop at a platform 1,700 feet from the stadium.

"It is in our best interests [to require most spectators to] use mass transit" to eliminate traffic congestion and comply with Clean Air Act standards, said attorney Alan M. Rifkin, an Annapolis lobbyist with close ties to Gov. William Donald Schaefer.

Residents also need not worry about the stadium being used as a site for rock concerts, he said.

"The turf alone costs $2 million," Mr. Rifkin said. "We will do nothing that violates that turf. It will have limited use. It's not going to be a rock concert hall."

He sees the proposed stadium as a potential site for Army-Navy football games.

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