Laurel roadblock for Redskins

March 10, 1995|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,Sun Staff Writer

Gov. Parris N. Glendening, making good on a campaign promise, vowed yesterday to block the necessary roadwork for a Washington Redskins stadium in Laurel -- a position that effectively would end the team's hope of moving to the Maryland suburb.

"We will not be authorizing changes in state roads to accommodate that even if the developer is paying for that, because it is just the wrong location," Glendening said of the proposed site near Laurel Park racecourse in Anne Arundel County.

"I know that area well. You cannot get that traffic through simply by increasing the capacity at a few intersections," Glendening said at a State House news conference.

Glendening met Wednesday with representatives of Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke, said one of the participants, Gerald Evans, a lobbyist for Cooke.

"He just wanted to reiterate his opposition. It's not a change in his position," Evans said.

Evans acknowledged that gubernatorial approval would be necessary for constructing the stadium at Laurel, but said "I haven't received any instructions from Mr. Cooke" to stop pursuing Laurel.

Glendening, who has expressed interest in getting the team to move to Maryland, said he believes the team is discussing at least half a dozen viable locations in the state from Camden Yards in Baltimore to southern Prince George's County.

Evans said yesterday that the team is not considering Camden Yards.

A spokesman for the governor said the team has not signaled any interest in Camden Yards, but that he was aware of efforts by Del. Howard Rawlings, a Baltimore Democrat and chairman of the appropriations committee, to entice the Redskins there. Glendening said Cooke has not flat-out rejected the idea.

Rawlings wrote Cooke a letter Jan. 27 proposing a Redskins-Maryland partnership to develop the "Jack Kent Cooke Harbordome" at Camden Yards. Cooke wrote back thanking him for the offer but saying he was committed to another site central to his Washington/Northern Virginia fan base.

Rawlings said yesterday that he has spoken with Walter Lynch, Cooke's project manager on the Laurel stadium, as recently as a few days ago and he reports the team owner as adamantly opposed to moving to Camden Yards.

But, Rawlings said, that may change as Cooke encounters opposition to other sites.

Public funding has been approved to build a football stadium at Camden Yards. Maryland Stadium Authority executive director Bruce Hoffman said the authority has not had any communication with the Redskins over a potential move to Camden Yards.

"I would be eager to work with Mr. Cooke -- personality notwithstanding -- in terms of having the Redskins here, but not at the cost of destorying the greater community in Laurel," Glendening said.

Jeanne Mignon, leader of the anti-stadium group Citizens Against the Stadium Part 2, said, "I won't believe it's over until it's over."

But, she said, "I think he [Cooke] knows we are getting toward the end of this," Mignon said.

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