North Laurel residents voice stadium concerns

March 02, 1994|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,Sun Staff Writer

About 40 North Laurel residents voiced their concerns last night about the effects of a proposed Redskins stadium on their Howard County community at a meeting that for the first time featured a mix of citizens, team representatives and county officials.

But for Walter Lynch, Redskins stadium project manager, the meeting was similar to others he has attended -- residents asked for more details about the project, most expressed opposition to the stadium, and he tried to ease their fears.

"I don't want to listen to 80,000 people in my back yard," Jeanine Best, a resident, said.

"Who will foot the bill?" one resident asked. "How about no stadium?" another shouted.

"Have you yourself driven through Laurel on a Sunday afternoon?" Savage resident Karl Wagner asked Mr. Lynch.

"It is a mess," Mr. Lynch responded. "The infrastructure needs improvement. We know it needs improvement. Give us a chance. We just want to go through the [permit] process like any other builder."

This was the second meeting Redskins representatives have had with Howard residents but county officials did not attend the first one in Savage several weeks ago. The other community meetings have been held in Anne Arundel County, where the stadium and the majority of the 23,000 parking spaces would be located.

Last night, Mr. Lynch provided some details on the stadium project:

* It will cost $160 million.

* It will take two years to build.

* It will provide 1,500 construction jobs.

* It will provide 150 full-time jobs after construction and 1,900 part-time jobs on game days.

Mr. Lynch also said that the Redskins will pay for security patrols of communities near the stadium on game days to make sure that fans do not park in the neighborhoods and disturb residents.

He said the long-awaited traffic study commissioned by the Redskins will be released next week. That study will detail the necessary road improvements and the cost to improve traffic flow.

Mr. Lynch and county officials have been assuring residents that funds for road improvements and the stadium will not come out of county coffers.

"They have not asked Howard County to put up one cent yet," County Executive Charles I. Ecker said during the meeting. "They say they're not going to ask for anything."

Lastly, Mr. Lynch promised that a new stadium would not house many, if any, large concerts that would disturb residents.

"We have said that we are not going to have Grateful Dead concerts at this facility," he said. "We want to build a home for the Redskins. All we're asking you do do is let us go through the process. We aren't asking for any special favors."

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