Delegates seek cost of stadium plan

January 30, 1994|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

Members of Anne Arundel's state house delegation are still trying to find out how much, if anything, Washington Redskins officials expect for improvements around the team's proposed $160 million stadium in Laurel.

While some elected representatives warned Friday that state funding may not be available if they wait too long to ask, team officials have repeatedly said they are not concerned.

"We haven't asked the state for anything," said Alan Rifkin, the Redskins' lobbyist. "We understand the time constraints. We don't think it will be an issue."

Mr. Rifkin would not say if that means the National Football League franchise is prepared to pay for road improvements and other items that may be required.

He said team owner Jack Kent Cooke won't decide until impact studies are completed.

Sources of money other than the state coffers can be tapped, he said, but he would not elaborate.

Team officials have said in previous meetings that they may ask for the cost of road improvements to be deducted from impact fees the team would have to pay the county.

Mr. Rifkin said Friday that nothing will be decided until the team's traffic study is completed, which could be at the end of February or the beginning of March.

Bad weather has delayed the team's study and a separate, state-sponsored traffic study.

While the Redskins have said improvements may total no more than $36 million, the state estimates they will cost at least $50 million.

The state report was to be completed by Feb. 14, the day Gov. William Donald Schaefer has indicated he may drop his opposition to the Laurel stadium if Baltimore cannot get an NFL team. But Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., president of the Senate, and Casper R. Taylor Jr., speaker of the House, have written the secretary of the state Department of Economic and Employment Development that the report will be ready March 1.

Friday's 90-minute briefing before the Arundel delegation was a repeat of meetings team officials have had daily with myriad groups throughout the Laurel area.

Their talk ranged from plans to tip their parking lots so water doesn't drain directly into the Little Patuxent River to proposals to build and pay for a police substation at the stadium site to help with security.

Walter Lynch, the Redskins' project manager, assured the delegation that Laurel was the primary site, even if Baltimore gets an NFL franchise or a team from the Canadian Football League.

He added that Virginia Gov. George Allen has called team officials to ask that they reconsider Loudon County in Virginia as a site. "We aren't interested at all," Mr. Lynch said.

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