Three new recreational fields made of artificial turf will debut on land adjacent to Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium June 8, according to Events DC, the District’s sports authority. Spread across 217,000 square feet, the fields will host soccer, baseball, and lacrosse games, and are a component of the larger, planned redevelopment of the 190-acre stadium campus.
Workers broke ground on the fields last September and they were initially budgeted to cost over $30 million. Previously, the fields and their surroundings—including new benches, new restrooms, a new playground, a new pavilion, and new parking spaces—were on 27 acres of parking lots. A number of District officials are slated to cut the ribbon on the project: Mayor Muriel Bowser and her aides, Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen, Ward 7 Councilmember Vince Gray, Events DC CEO Greg O’Dell, and Max Brown, the chair of the Events DC board.
D.C. United soccer player Wayne Rooney will also be in attendance, as the club will offer a clinic for kids aged 9 to 12 from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. The ribbon cutting is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., with field activities to follow from roughly 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m., per Events DC. The sports fields are located to the north of RFK Stadium (2400 East Capitol Street SE).
“The celebration will feature two youth clinics provide by D.C. United’s Training Academy and the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy,” Events DC says in a release. “Youth will be available to sign up and participate on-site. Community partner, DC Fray will also host kickball and flag football tournaments, along with a fun spin on traditional tailgating activities including oversized games, complimentary food trucks, family-friendly activities, live music, RFK Untapped Beer Garden and more.” The price tag of the project rose to more than $35 million after needed lead remediation, the Washington Business Journal reported.
The opening of the fields comes as the stadium site remains under the control of the federal government, which leases the land to the District and has imposed restrictions on the land’s use. For years, District officials have pressed for the U.S. Interior Department to transfer the land to D.C.; pending legislation by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton would set up a “fair market value” purchase. Capitol Riverside Youth Sports Park will oversee the operations of the fields.
Welcome to The Fields at RFK Campus! We are now giving a behind the scenes look of the new fields! We can’t wait to welcome you on 6/8. pic.twitter.com/2cZgM2uKLF— Events DC (@TheEventsDC) May 28, 2019
The Pavilion design was inspired by the design of RFK Stadium. pic.twitter.com/thdfQ9WMMf— Events DC (@TheEventsDC) May 28, 2019
Bleacher seating is beginning to get setup! pic.twitter.com/iw13wfyfr7— Events DC (@TheEventsDC) May 28, 2019
Absolutely loving the scoreboard! Can’t wait to see this lit up. pic.twitter.com/1d8DuBJYmf— Events DC (@TheEventsDC) May 28, 2019