Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed said he wishes the city’s baseball team well, and he’ll be sorry to see them go in 2017. He said their stadium will be demolished and the city will move on when the Braves head to the suburbs.
Here’s an excerpt from his CNN commentary today:
“For 18 months, my administration has been involved in good-faith discussions to keep the Braves in downtown Atlanta as their lease at Turner Field nears expiration. On Monday, the Atlanta Braves organization announced its intention to relocate to Cobb County — in a new stadium. Our partners in Cobb County will provide $450 million in public funding to build the new $672 million stadium, we’re told. We are simply unwilling to match that with taxpayer dollars.”
Reed, who was just elected to a second term last week, said he’d rather put $250 million into Atlanta neighborhoods than in Turner Field. He says it’s not worth keeping the team from moving 12 miles away to Cobb County.
The rejection comes after the city pledged to kick in $200 million in hotel taxes to the Atlanta Falcons’ proposed $1 billion new stadium in the city. “In the case of the Braves, no identifiable revenue stream exists that would allow us to pay for a commitment of $450 million or even $250 million responsibly,” Reed wrote on CNN’s website.
The Falcons deal has been cited by Vikings stadium opponents as proof that Minnesota could have driven a harder bargain with its NFL franchise.