Critics at a Monday court hearing on plans for a new Atlanta Falcons stadium said it will further distress neighborhoods and mimic the infamous “Peyton wall” built in 1962 to separate black and white neighborhoods.
The hearing was intended to authorize Atlanta to sell bonds to help pay for the $1.2 billion stadium. A judge deferred the bond sale for at least seven weeks by giving five residents until April 10 to prepare their legal case against the bond sale, reports SaportaReport.
Some residents are skeptical about the stadium process, saying Atlanta has signed a deal that lasts possibly through 2050 to allocate its hotel/motel tax to the stadium, ignoring other civic improvements.
There are concerns about a blank wall of the stadium facing Northside Drive.
And then, the state has already removed a big piece of the Martin Luther King Jr. Drive viaduct and rerouted traffic between Northside Drive and Downtown Atlanta along Nelson Street in the Castleberry Hill neighborhood, the website says.
Bob Holmes, a retired state lawmaker and professor at Clark Atlanta University, said Atlanta stadiums going back to the original 1966 Braves ball field have been touted as projects that will improve surrounding neighborhoods, but none have proven to do that. The Ted, converted from a stadium built for the 1996 Olympic Games, was cited by the Braves for the surrounding neighborhood blight in the announcement of its plans to move to Cobb County, he told the Saporta Report. The Georgia Dome was built to uplift the community, and those plans have gone unfilled, he says.
“Here we go again – fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me; fool me four times, and I belong in some insane asylum,” said Holmes.
Thelma Wyatt Moore, a retired judge representing residents opposed to the project, focused on the echo of a barrier built to enforce segregated neighborhoods.
“This stadium is a new Peyton wall,” said Moore. “That was an extremely painful period of our history.”
Meanwhile, the designers of the proposed stadium released new
images last week depicting how it will look from several different
vantage points. See those here.