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NPS gives go-ahead to demolish RFK Stadium, as District moves closer to new Washington Commanders home

Washington Construction News staff writer

The National Parks Service has given the go-ahead to demolish the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial (RFK) Stadium, clearing the way for the eventual  construction of a new stadium for the city’s National Football League team, the Washington Commanders.

In the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) signed on April 29, the NPS explains the decision and describes conservation measures that will be taken to avoid and minimize negative effects, the NPS said in a May 2 statement.

The next step is for the NPS to issue a permit to the District of Columbia, which would allow the District to demolish the stadium. In addition to the permit, the NPS and the District will sign an agreement that confirms the District’s continued use and demolition of the property will follow the 1957 District of Columbia Stadium Act’s requirements.

RFK Stadium is located on NPS land, however the District of Columbia owns the stadium, and Events DC is responsible for its operation and management. The stadium, which opened in 1961, is in a state of disrepair and has not been used since 2019. Events DC has already removed hazardous materials, stadium seats, furniture, fixtures, equipment, trash and debris.

Local contractor Smoot Construction Co. started selective demolition work on the aging stadium in late 2022, removing about 1,800 tons of metal, plastic and non-structural debris, ENR reports. Approximately 1,800 tons of metal, plastic and non-structural debris has been collected. ECS Mid-Atlantic LLC monitored the identification and abatement of asbestos-containing materials.

Events DC says all seats, furniture, fixtures and equipment also have been removed, and utilities servicing the stadium have been disconnected.

“EventsDC now needs only an NPS permit to give SmootDC the go-ahead to begin gradual removal of major steel and concrete elements. Pending issuance of the NPS permit,” ENR reported. “EventsDC said that it is now “completing the final phases of testing the stadium concrete to identify demolished stadium concrete that can be re-used as backfill on the RFK site.”

The FONSI and other planning documents are available at: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/rfkdemo

In February, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill to grant District a 99-year site lease, potentially clearing the way for construction of a new stadium for the city’s National Football League team, the Washington Commanders.

“The measure, which is awaiting Senate action, would also allow D.C. to pursue commercial and residential development, along with the responsibility of paying for any environmental remediation costs,” ENR reports. “EventsDC has already converted smaller portions of the campus to accommodate recreational sports and small events.”

Mark Buckshon
Mark Buckshonhttps://washingtonconstructionnews.com
Mark Buckshon is the publisher and interim editor of Washington Construction News. He is also president of the Construction News and Report Group of Companies. He combines a journalism and business background, and has published construction trade publications for more than 30 years, after an earlier career in journalism, which culminated when he lived through the transition from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe in 1978-80 as a sub-editor for the Bulawayo Chronicle and a correspondent for a Canadian news service.

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