“Professional soccer and DC United add to the quality of life in our region, and a new stadium would be exciting. But the District needs to approach the deal in a responsible way, taking into consideration the needs of DC residents, and especially the stadium’s closest neighbors.”

This rallying cry is an affirmation by the Winning Goal Coalition, which includes, among others, the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, ANC commissioners, SWNA, CBCC, Sasha Bruce, concession and construction unions, and environmental groups. As part of the Winning Goal Coalition, the Near SE/SW Community Benefits Coordinating Council (CBCC) was tasked with organizing a community benefits agreement (CBA) campaign to target ANC 6D residents and be included as part of the proposed soccer stadium legislation, Bill 20-805. The campaign has successfully gained a seat at the negotiating table with the city and DC United. The CBA campaign groundwork was laid in June meetings with the city and DC United to discuss the need for a CBA and to share initial broad concepts. Both parties were amicable to the negotiation of a CBA. On June 26, Winning Goal Coalition members, including the CBCC, testified at the City Council joint committee hearing on the bill. CBCC testimony specifically asked the Council not to approve any legislation until a CBA for ANC 6D residents is included.

Over the summer, the CBCC convened at several general and work-group meetings with over 35 community leaders including several commissioners, SWNA, Navy Yard Neighborhood Association (NYNA) representatives, resident council and tenant association leaders, as well as church and social service representatives. Out of these meetings, a draft CBA was completed and recently turned over to DC United and the city.

The CBA campaign requires the city and DC United to work together to provide significant community benefits such as: a multi-million dollar community fund to be professionally managed and distributed according to neighborhood-based guidelines, a small business incubator, workforce development and training, protections for public housing, and preservation of affordable housing in the neighborhoods closest to Buzzard Point. The campaign also reiterates the recommendations of the draft DDOT traffic and transportation study for the safety of local residents. To assist with the drafting of this legally enforceable agreement, the CBCC has secured the help of pro bono legal counsel from Matthew Yeo of Steptoe and Johnson, P.C.

The proposed CBA was provided to the city administrator’s assistant, Tony Robinson, and DC United’s COO, Tom Hunt, in late August, with additional clarification provided during a follow-up meeting on Sept. 12. At that same meeting, city and DC United representatives agreed to provide a joint formal response to the CBA requests within two weeks (by the end of September). Thereafter, CBA campaign leaders expect to enter and complete formal negotiations for a joint presentation with the city and DC United to City Council for approval as an addendum by reference to Bill 20-805. The CBCC strongly urges all resident communities and organizations within ANC 6D who have not already joined the CBA campaign to do so now in support of this invaluable opportunity to forge a lasting partnership with DC United and the city for long-term, significant benefits to the neighborhood and its residents.

By: Felicia Couts, CBCC Coordinator

Email: fcouts@seswcbcc.org

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