Local
5:35 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Supporters Rally Ahead of Braves Stadium Vote

Business leaders and others who support a new Atlanta Braves stadium rallied for the project today. The effort comes about a week before Cobb County commissioners vote on a final stadium deal.

A large group of business leaders and others who support the project stood near the future stadium site...where work to relocate several gas lines has already begun. Cobb Business owner John Loud says those who favor the project want the community to know there is strong support. Loud says the project will help bring in revenue to Cobb schools, businesses and county government.

Credit Chris Ferguson/WABE

“And when we at Cobb County have the opportunity to host the Atlanta Braves, the longest running franchise in history, who doesn’t want that opportunity?” 

Supporters also say they want to clear up what they believe are misconceptions raised by those against the stadium project. Cobb real estate agent Mark Morgan says traffic fears are unfounded.

“You’re looking at 81 games that are being played here at home. A lot of those games are on weekends when we don’t have the business traffic. Some of those 81 games are during the afternoon...so there are really a small percentage of games that are going to affect actual traffic.”

Meanwhile, Citizens for Governmental Transparency says it’s against the stadium deal as it currently stands today. Rich Pellegrino is a spokesman for the coalition.

“Because all of our research indicates that the balance sheet is not in our favor, in terms of this will be a revenue loss for the county, and that it needs to be renegotiated with less public funding and less risk for the county.”

The group has also raised concerns about transparency and Pellegrino says if commissioners approve the project and the county moves forward with issuing bonds for the stadium, legal action is likely.

Supporters say lawsuits in other cities challenging the type of bonds that will be issued for the project have been unsuccessful.

County officials say with interest, $537 million dollars in public money will go to fund the project over 30 years. Last week, Cobb officials released information showing the stadium will produce higher than expected returns in sales and property taxes.

Citizens for Governmental Transparency says the information follows two polls showing 64 percent of Cobb residents surveyed were against public financing for the stadium. A total of 800 residents responded in the polls.