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Nats pitch ballpark roof; DC officials not enthusiastic

Nationals Park

A pitch by Washington Nationals ownership to put a new retractable roof on Nationals Park didn’t meet with much enthusiasm from District officials, who say a $300-million price tag is too much.

Ted Lerner presented a plan and renderings last July to D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray for a new roof. The District is already heavily invested in Nationals Park after paying for the entire construction cost, so Gray was not too eager to take on $300 million more in public debt. From the Washington Post:

“What Lerner wanted to talk about was the possibility of a roof on Nationals Park,” the mayor (D) said. “That was it. There was no discussion about how much it was going to cost and no further details. I’ve had no further discussions.”…

Gray said he was unaware that the roof could cost so much and wondered why the issue had come up again now, months later. City officials later researched the issue, Gray said, and found that adding roofs to existing stadiums after the fact was unusual. He also said he looked at sketches the Nationals provided. “I’m not prepared to go ask the city for $300 million,” he said. “Getting the stadium done in the first place was hugely controversial. And now a roof? I’m not prepared to do that. I’m concerned about hurting the aesthetics of a beautiful stadium.”

So we’ll write this off as a trial balloon shot down by elected officials.


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