“The Atlanta Braves are one of the best baseball teams in America, and I wish them well.
We have been working very hard with the Braves for a long time, and at the end of the day, there was simply no way the team was going to stay in downtown Atlanta without city taxpayers spending hundreds of millions of dollars to make that happen.
It is my understanding that our neighbor, Cobb County, made a strong offer of of $450M in public support to the Braves and we are simply unwilling to match that with taxpayer dollars.
Given the needs facing our city and the impact of Turner Field stadium on surrounding neighborhoods, that was something I, and many others were unwilling to do.
It was reported this week that Turner Field, which opened way back in 1997 before, as Will Bunch notes, there was even Twitter (!), will be demolished in 2017. The Atlanta Braves, you see, feel that they can no longer field a viable Major League team there. And when city of Atlanta said it couldn’t fork over the $200 million necessary to upgrade the stadium, the Braves went venue shopping. They struck gold. Nearby Cobb County will pony up $450 million in taxpayer money for a brand new, 42,000 seat, $672 million ballpark.
That’s right, neighboring Cobb County is forking over 300m to 450m+ to help the Braves build a stadium. Where is the money coming from? Cobb County taxpayers! Cobb County, whose school district has had teacher furloughs for it’s school district, due to an 80m+ budget deficit is going to fund this stadium for the Braves with money taxpayers won’t even be able to vote yay or nay on.
More big city mayors with sprawling school districts and infrastructure to maintain need to follow Kaseem Reed’s example and learn to say no to this corporate welfare and let these teams say yes to the suburbs.