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Stadium study finds a minimal benefit


A group that opposes a Redskins stadium in Laurel has released a study that questions the economic development claims of stadium supporters, and suggests the project would have only a "minor" economic impact on Anne Arundel County.

The study by ZHA Inc., of Annapolis, estimates that most of the 570 construction jobs would go to noncounty residents and that once the stadium opened it would generate only about 35 full-time jobs for maintenance and administrative workers, and 1,200 game-day positions.

Overall, the county budget would gain about $4.5 million in football-related income a year, but may rebate some of that to the team or share it with other jurisdictions, the study said. County Executive John G. Gary has offered to reduce the team's taxes by $2 million a year.

Citizens Against The Stadium II commissioned the study, which was completed in July, and presented it to Mr. Gary at a meeting this week.

The creation of 35 full-time jobs would be "insignificant" compared to Anne Arundel's job market of 219,000 positions, the study said.

Some businesses around the stadium may see some increase in sales during games, but not enough to justify additional hiring. Others could see a drop in business as customers stay away during peak traffic periods.

"The proposed stadium will therefore have a minor economic impact on the county's total budget," the study said.

CATSII President Jeanne Mignon said alternative uses for the property near the Laurel Park Racecourse, such as further housing development, could raise far more tax revenue for the county and require less public investment in roads or other infrastructure.

ZHA's conclusions were in stark contrast to a report by Arthur Anderson & Co. for Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp., released in January.

That study estimated that the stadium would generate $8.4 million a year in state and Anne Arundel County taxes, about $7 million of that in county amusement and property taxes.

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