Falcons regroup without desired stadium site
by The Associated Press
July 31, 2013 12:28 AM | 751 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ATLANTA — One of two proposed sites for a new $1 billion stadium is unsuitable for development, Atlanta Falcons president and CEO Rich McKay said Tuesday.

In a letter to the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, McKay wrote that the proposed south site for the new, retractable-roof stadium is not a viable option because the company responsible for building the stadium hasn’t bought two historic churches — Friendship Baptist and Mount Vernon Baptist — that are in the way along with other nearby land parcels.

McKay also wrote that officials have been unable to conduct environmental and other required testing at those sites.

The Georgia World Congress Center Authority voted to ask the State Properties Commission to give the Falcons a license to perform due diligence work on the proposed north site — which includes various environmental and engineering inspections.

“We going to turn attention to the north side and start working through the feasibility analysis of the north,” GWCCA executive director Frank Poe told WAGA-TV.

The station reported that the north site presents a separate set of problems, including contaminated soil beneath a parking lot and overhead power lines that would need to be removed.

The Falcons originally favored the north site, near the intersection of Northside Drive and Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard. However, state and city officials preferred the south location near Northside and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

The deadline to strike a deal with churches in the path of the south site is Thursday.

They both have prominent roles in Atlanta’s history.

The father of the late Mayor Maynard Jackson preached at Friendship Baptist Church — which dates back to the early days of the American Civil War.

Congregation members have said Friendship Baptist became the city’s first independent black Baptist church when it formed in 1866. In its early days, the congregation owned no property and initially worshipped in a train boxcar that came from Tennessee.

Morehouse College held classes at the church in 1879, and Spelman College took form in the church’s basement two years later. The colleges now operate campuses adjacent to each other in the Atlanta University Center.

Mount Vernon Baptist Church began as a storefront church in 1915 and moved several times before acquiring property near the Georgia Dome. The congregation was also moved in 1955 because of a road expansion.
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