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New Nats ballpark a financial hit for District

Nationals Park

After a contentious fight to bring in the Washington Nationals, it looks like Nationals Park advocates were right: the ballpark’s economic impact is generating a profit for the District of Columbia.

Never mind the economic impact in the area around the ballpark — it’s been slow to come, but it is indeed coming. The bottom line can be seen on the tax receipts. From the Examiner:

“It’s been a great deal for Washington,” says John Ross, senior adviser and director of the Office of Economic Development Finance in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer. “We got a baseball team and we got the stadium paid for. And we are reaping tax revenues from development around the stadium.”

Critics who branded the stadium a boondoggle when construction began in 2006 have been proved wrong. They predicted the stadium along the Anacostia River would drain the city’s coffers and sit alone amid an urban wasteland. To the contrary, the ballpark has been a boon — to the city and the blighted Southeast neighborhood….

The city borrowed $585 million in 30-year municipal bonds to finance the stadium. It takes $32 million to service the annual debt. According to the CFO and [D.C. Councilman Jack]  Evans, revenues from taxes, fees and rent have brought in more than $50 million every year. The excess has been going into the general fund, but the city council passed a law that will put it into savings.

So, let’s review. The District of Columbia got a baseball team, Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper and a ballpark that’s both spurred development and generated profits. In retrospect, it was a pretty good deal for all.


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