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Council approves benefits plan for stadium neighborhoods
by Staff Reports
December 03, 2013 11:30 AM | 1195 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Atlanta City Council Monday approved a comprehensive community benefits plan designed to direct $30 million in funding to bolster the neighborhoods surrounding the new $1.2 billion Falcons stadium, it announced Monday in a news release.

The plan, approved by a vote of 14-0 and required before $200 million in bonds backed by hotel-motel taxes for stadium construction can be issued, was developed in concert with stakeholders in the English Avenue, Vine City and Castleberry Hill neighborhoods. These communities are directly impacted by the planned development of the new stadium. District 2 Councilman Kwanza Hall was absent.

The community benefits plan calls for initiatives such as community-based job training opportunities, affordable housing, environmental mitigations, special event enforcement programs, historic preservation, health and wellness programs and economic development.

“For those of us who live in Vine City as I have for 22 years, residents and stakeholders of English Avenue, Vine City and Castleberry Hill have no tolerance to allow these community benefit investments to be plagued by the same mistakes made with previous investments to uplift these neighborhoods,” said District 3 City Councilman Ivory Lee Young Jr. “We have spent months engaging the impacted neighborhoods to perfect the development of this community benefits plan without pre-determining which project or organizations were best suited to respond to the plan priorities.

“Invest Atlanta and The Arthur Blank Family Foundation have a great track record in working with the community to implement the community’s priorities. I am confident that this is the start of a transformative process that finally reaches the people who need it most.”

In other news, the council voted 14-0 to approve the creation of a task force to develop recommendations for commercial and residential development, public safety and transportation opportunities in the neighborhoods around Turner Field. Hall was absent. The measure was sponsored by District 1 Councilwoman Carla Smith, whose district encompasses the downtown stadium and surrounding neighborhoods. Hall was absent.

On Nov. 11, the Atlanta Braves announced plans to relocate to a $672 million new stadium in Cobb County.

Turner Field has served as home to the Atlanta Braves since 1997, following its move from Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, their home ballpark from 1966 to 1996. Turner Field was originally built as Centennial Olympic Stadium in 1996 to serve as the centerpiece of the 1996 Summer Olympics.

The task force is charged with identifying an assortment of issues currently facing the neighborhoods and providing recommendations that will promote a vibrant and safe community, with sustained economic development after the Atlanta Braves leave Turner Field in 2017.

The current ballpark, which is owned jointly by the city of Atlanta and the Atlanta/Fulton County Recreation Authority, sits at the intersection of three neighborhoods: Summerhill, Mechanicsville, and Peoplestown, and close to Grant Park.
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