Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday touted a tentative agreement he’s reached with federal officials to swap park land in Western Maryland to build a new stadium for the Washington Redskins football team in Prince George’s County.
The Republican governor declined to release additional details about the plans — including the site under consideration in Western Maryland — saying the proposals were far from finalized. An administration spokeswoman said officials were declining to release memorandums of understanding concerning the deals because they are still drafts. She added that Maryland taxpayers have incurred no costs thus far.
But Hogan touted the potential of building a new stadium for the Redskins on 300 acres of federal property at Oxon Cove Park to reporters gathered at a school construction event in Landover. He called the site “beautiful” and “wonderful.”
"Can you imagine the Redskins stadium on ‘Monday Night Football’ looking at all the monuments reflecting on the Potomac River?” Hogan said. “It'd be the nicest facility in America, with 300 acres to develop around there for entertainment, restaurants, whatever we decided."
Hogan said he met personally with both Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and United States Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke multiple times about the deal. Hogan said he finalized a tentative agreement with Zinke last year, but has no firm agreement from Snyder.
He called the plan just an “idea.”
“Our discussions are about a land swap for a property in Western Maryland that the Interior desperately wants for an extension of some Civil War battlefields,” Hogan said. “It’s a property we’re not using that they want to develop into a national park. What we want is that gateway to Maryland.”
The Redskins have been exploring the possibility of relocating away from FedEx Field in Landover, including sites in Maryland, Washington and Virginia, Hogan said.
The Washington Post reported last week that Snyder is getting help from Washington officials, congressional Republicans and the Trump administration as he tries to clear a major roadblock to building a new 60,000-seat stadium at the site of RFK Stadium.
Nearly three years after the Redskins unveiled designs for their next football stadium, the team has been working with local and federal officials to insert a stadium provision into the massive spending bill that the Republican-controlled Congress is rushing to complete this month, The Post reported.
Snyder also honored new Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks over the weekend, presenting her with what she called a “beautiful jersey” on Twitter.
Alsobrooks appeared alongside Hogan at the school construction announcement Tuesday. Hogan said he and Alsobrooks have been discussing how to keep the team in the county.
“Before she was sworn in, we started having discussions about what can Prince George’s County and the state do to keep this major taxpayer in the state of Maryland?” Hogan said. “We would both like to keep the Redskins in Prince George’s County. I think this is the place where they want to be.”
The Redskins did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
If the deal goes through, Hogan said Maryland taxpayers would not be paying to build a new stadium. He said the state might provide funding for infrastructure work, however.
The governor also said the deal would likely need approval of Congress.
“We’re not going to build a billionaire a stadium,” Hogan said. “We’re not going to spend one penny for construction. … Maybe infrastructure improvements.”
Operated by the National Park Service, Oxon Cove Park includes 512 acres, a farm museum, bike paths and trails.
“It’s a wonderful piece of property that the Department of the Interior is not really using,” Hogan said.
But Sen.-elect Obie Patterson, who represents the area, said he has serious concerns about the plan and wants to see the memorandum of understanding with the federal government.
“I’m not saying we couldn’t benefit from this,” Patterson said. “I’m saying, what are you going to do about the basic needs of the community? This is going to be a lot of cars and have an impact on the environment. Transportation has to be a top priority. It was a sign of disrespect to not discuss this with us.”
Amelia Chasse, a spokeswoman for the governor, said the administration would be open to preserving existing activities at the site. Chasse added that the governor would not be asking the Redskins to change their name.
“That has never been a condition of the governor’s support,” she said.