The effort to build a soccer stadium at Poplar Point, overlooking the Anacostia River, got a boost last night as D.C. Council member Marion Barry told hundreds of residents that the proposal could be a boon to communities that have longed for new investment.
The first hour of the meeting could have been mistaken for a high school pep rally, as Ballou students performed skits, sang gospel songs and swayed to the sounds of the school's marching band. D.C. United offered free food and soccer balls to those who attended.
Team officials tried to oblige, pledging to be a good neighbor by giving first priority for jobs to Ward 8 residents, by working with city leaders to make some of the new housing affordable and by urging children from surrounding neighbors to play soccer. Concerts and, on occasion, public school sporting events would also be held at the site. Kevin Payne, chief executive of D.C. United, was applauded when he promised that the team would start an internship program for city youths.
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