Valdosta Daily Times

State News

September 14, 2013

Falcons sweeten deal to buy church for stadium

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Falcons are offering an extra $8 million to purchase a church property that sits at the site of a proposed $1 billion, retractable roof stadium that the NFL team wants to build, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said Friday.

Team owner Arthur Blank agreed last week to put up the extra funds to clinch the deal after negotiations stalled last month with Mount Vernon Baptist Church, one of two churches that will have to be relocated if the stadium is to be built on the city’s preferred site, Reed said at a news conference. The Falcons will provide $8.3 million, while the Georgia World Congress Center Authority will kick in $6.2 million, for a total payout of $14.5 million.

The Democratic mayor last month helped broker a preliminary $19.5 million deal with Friendship Baptist Church.

Reed said he’s optimistic that the deals with the churches will clear the final hurdle next week when the congregations of each church meet to vote on the proposed agreements.

Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young was instrumental in the negotiations with Mount Vernon Baptist, Reed said. The mayor stressed his desire to avoid using coercive tactics with both churches, noting that he took the use of eminent domain off the table early on.

“We really think we’ve accomplished what we have accomplished today in the Atlanta way,” Reed said. “Folks are here because they want to be here. Folks are going to sell their property if the congregation decides it’s in their best interest to sell their property.”

Reed was joined at the news conference by the Rev. Rodney Turner from Mount Vernon Baptist and Lloyd Hawk, chairman of Friendship Baptist’s board of trustees. Both men said they believe the proposed deals are fair and that they will recommend that their congregations approve them. Both churches said they are considering several sites, and Reed said the city will be willing to provide some assistance and advice for their relocation.

The churches have been the main obstacles to a site south of the Georgia Dome, the Falcons’ existing stadium. Reed has repeatedly said that site is preferable to an open site on the north side of the Georgia Dome because it would be better served by two public transit stations, lessening game-day traffic jams and making it easier for fans to access the games using public transportation.

But if the congregations vote against the new proposals, Reed said he won’t push it. Instead, he said he will join the Falcons in preparing for the north site.

There are six other parcels of land that will still remain to be purchased even if the churches agree to sell their land, but Reed said that, unlike the churches, none of those pieces is essential. Building the stadium without any of those parcels would be more difficult but not impossible, he said.

 

1
Text Only
State News
  • Kingston’s loss means less clout for Ga.

    For two decades, Rep. Jack Kingston was a congressman who routinely crushed his opponents on election night — winning a new term every other year with vote totals between 63 and 77 percent.

    July 28, 2014

  • salmonella 2 copy.jpg Trial nears for suspects in salmonella case

    Three people accused of scheming to manufacture and ship salmonella-tainted peanuts that killed nine people, sickened more than 700 and prompted one of the largest food recalls in history are set to go to trial this week in south Georgia.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 2 injured in western Georgia small plane crash

    Fire officials say two people were hospitalized after small plane crash in western Georgia. 

     

    July 27, 2014

  • Nuclear Construction_Rich(1) copy.jpg Promises of easier nuclear construction fall short

    The U.S. nuclear industry has started building its first new plants in decades using prefabricated Lego-like blocks meant to save time and money and revive the once promising energy source.
    So far, it’s not working.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Battle of Atlanta_Rich copy.jpg Civil War battle sites have a mobile app

    This week marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Atlanta, one of the key conflicts of the Civil War, and researchers at Emory University’s Center for Digital Scholarship have released a mobile app for the tour.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kingston, Perdue make final pitch in Senate race

    U.S. Senate hopefuls Jack Kingston and David Perdue hit every corner of the state in one final scramble before Georgia Republicans will choose one of them to take on Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn this fall in one of the nation’s most significant midterm election matchups.

    July 22, 2014

  • Senate race zeroes in on metro Atlanta, north Ga.

    Neither Republican running in Georgia’s closely watched Senate race has a natural advantage in metro Atlanta, where the state’s most populous area and a ring of northern exurbs are serving as the key battleground ahead of Tuesday’s runoff.

    July 21, 2014

  • Kingston, Perdue: Teamwork begins after runoff

    Businessman David Perdue and Rep. Jack Kingston have plenty of criticisms for each other as they appeal for votes ahead of Georgia’s Republican Senate primary runoff.

    July 20, 2014

  • Senate-Georgia_Rich copy.jpg Kingston, Perdue offer few details on budget fixes

    Neither Rep. Jack Kingston nor businessman David Perdue has detailed a clear course for changing the nation’s fiscal situation, instead broadly railing against government spending and debt in their campaign for Georgia’s open U.S. Senate seat.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gavel-courtroom.jpg Republican Senate hopefuls clash in Sunday debate

    Georgia Republican Senate candidates Jack Kingston and David Perdue sharpened their attacks on each other during a heated debate Sunday with just over a week to go before their runoff election.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results