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Mayor Vincent Gray, council members urge Redskins to move facilities to SE D.C.

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Thursday night hundreds of concerned residents came to a meeting that centered on the possibility of the Redskins moving their headquarters and training facilities to Southeast DC.

Washington mayor Vincent Gray and several city council members were on hand to answer questions.

Many in the crowd expressed concern about the possibility the Redskins could move to a site just south of the DC Armory and near RFK Stadium.

"There's really not a lot of economic development that a training facility is going to bring,” said Southeast DC resident Erinn Sauer. “They're typically closed facilities with fences around them, barbed wire. There's not a lot of opportunities for the community."

The site that has been talked about for a Redskins training facility has historically been called Reservation 13, and in recent years has also been called Hill East.

It’s where DC General Hospital used to be, and today features a number of medical clinics and buildings and land that aren’t being used.

In 2002 the DC Council approved a master plan for the property that called for a mixed-use development, but not much has happened since.

"For a long time they have promised something, but we haven't got it," said Southeast DC resident Sylvia Cunningham.

Gray told the audience that came out to the DC Armory Thursday night that although Reservation 13 is a possible future site for the Redskins to move to, it’s not the only property in the District that would be considered.

He also stressed the DC Council would have to approve zoning changes for the property before the Redskins could ever move there.

But Gray made it clear he supports trying to lure the Redskins to move their training facilities somewhere in DC.

"I think one of the things you would get is the players would move into the city, and they would pay their income taxes here,” Gray said. “So I think there's a lot to be said for the economic potential if they move back into the city."

Redskins officials recently visited Richmond, Virginia, which is also trying to get the Redskins to come for training. They currently train in Ashburn but are considering leaving there.

Some residents living near Reservation 13 say they’re fine with the idea of the Redskins moving there. Carolyn Smith says the neighborhood hasn’t been the same since the team left RFK for Prince George’s County, and she thinks a training facility would help bring some life back to the area.

“{It’s been} kind of dead, I would say,” Smith said.

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