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D.C. laughs at Nationals $300M stadium roof pitch

Tuesday - 11/26/2013, 6:21pm  ET

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The Washington Nationals pitched the District government on a $300 million plan for a retractable roof over Nationals Park, but city officials say the idea was quickly dismissed.

Ted Lerner, Nationals owner and Washington-area development mogul, pitched Mayor Vincent Gray on the idea and it didn’t go well. A source in the mayor’s office said Gray “started laughing.”

A second source in the executive office said the stadium wasn't designed for a roof, so it "would be cost prohibitive and butt ugly."

NBCWashington and WNEW reporter Mark Segraves first reported the roof plan.

“Great idea, but the Lerners would have to pay for it and I think there are creative ways to do that,” said D.C. Councilman Jack Evans, D-Ward 2, a leading proponent of sports and entertainment facilities in the District.

Evans suggested, if the Lerners want a roof, they should leverage some of their many real estate holdings to cover the debt, and then use the incremental revenue generated by the roof — with off-season events and such — to cover what's due, instead of asking for D.C. taxpayers to foot the bill.

The Nationals declined to comment on the report.

Four of the 81 Nationals home games were postponed due to weather in 2013. A fifth was postponed after the Navy Yard shootings.

WBJ reporter Ben Fischer contributed to this story.

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