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Yes, items from RFK Stadium will be auctioned before demolition

The DC government is also working to address health safety concerns during the widespread asbestos removal from the 61-year-old structure.

WASHINGTON — A local sports landmark is being torn down, but not before fans are given a chance to buy a piece of history.

The demolition contract obtained by WUSA9 includes a clause that will allow fans to buy memorabilia, like seats from the stands and even the scoreboard from inside RFK Stadium in Southeast, D.C. 

According to the “Demolition Services Agreement for RFK Memorial Stadium, obtained by WUSA9, the District is paying $12,369,992 to Smoot Construction Company in D.C. to tear down the home of the heyday of Washington's football team. Fans who miss the days when the team was winning Super Bowls, or when the Nationals first came to the District, may soon be able to buy a piece of those golden years. 

Events DC, the government office that manages RFK, is allowed to re-use or re-sell memorabilia salvaged during demolition, including scoreboards, plaques, seats, and any other sports memorabilia they can pull out during the teardown.

In a statement Wednesday, Events DC told WUSA9:

"We understand RFK Stadium has a rich history and includes items that remain of interest to many residents and fans. Currently, we are in the process of surveying RFK Stadium artifacts including seats and other memorabilia. All items will undergo a thorough evaluation to ensure safety, among other considerations, prior to any dissemination. We plan to share more information regarding the sale and distribution of RFK Stadium items in the coming weeks."

The project also poses significant safety challenges, and the contract includes a 76-page “Asbestos and Hazardous Materials Abatement Plan” addressing the safe removal of the cancer-causing fibers, widely used in construction until it was banned by the EPA in 1989. Maps of RFK contained in the asbestos removal plan show asbestos throughout the entire 61-year-old stadium, with color-coded dots signifying hot spots.

The contract outlines how Smoot Construction will monitor air quality, as well as fire and emergency response plans should the asbestos catch fire, breach removal containers, contaminate the air or accidentally spill.

Credit: WUSA9
Map showing asbestos locations on level 2 of RFK Stadium

In its statement to WUSA9 Events DC addressed the asbestos removal: 

"Events DC regularly hosts public informational meetings with the RFK Campus’ surrounding community. During the July 11 community meeting, representatives from Events DC and Smoot Construction, the selected abatement and demolition contractor, were available to answer questions regarding the abatement process and demolition. The Events DC Community Engagement Team also regularly distributes an RFK Campus Newsletter and Community Advisories with relevant news and information. Interested individuals can subscribe here: http://eepurl.com/b1I_eb. The process involving the abatement of asbestos and any other potentially hazardous materials has begun and will take several months. While the presence of asbestos is common for a building of this age, the health and safety of community is of the utmost importance to Events DC and Smoot Construction. The abatement process is underway in accordance with all federal and local laws by licensed professionals and does not present a danger to the community."

The removal of the asbestos and any other potentially hazardous materials will take several months, and then be followed by a teardown of RFK, section by section using cranes and heavy equipment. There will not be a controlled implosion, like many cities have done when tearing down their old sports stadiums.

Events DC says it does plan to celebrate and commemorate RFK stadium and its history with public events leading up to the exterior demolition. The office says it will share more updates on those ceremonies as they become available.

The stadium itself is expected to be completely removed by the end of next year barring any unforeseen circumstances.

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