Critics: New Falcons Stadium Will Racially Divide Atlanta

Opponents of a new Atlanta Falcons stadium say it will not improve surrounding neighborhoods and will exacerbate racial tensions in the city.

A view of what the south exterior of the proposed Atlanta Falcons stadium could look like. Credit: newstadium.atlantafalcons.com
A view of what the south exterior of the proposed Atlanta Falcons stadium could look like. Credit: newstadium.atlantafalcons.com

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.

Brian February 20, 2014 at 01:22 AM
This is NONSENSE. In fact, it is exactly the opposite. The stadium combined with the new MMT station will connect a huge void of "the gulch" that seperates the Southern end of downtown such as Mechanicsville from the rest of downtown.
Larry V February 20, 2014 at 10:46 PM
Why do black leaders have to interject race into absolutely everything? It's 2014. We have a black president, a black Attorney General of the United States, black Mayor, etc., but the whining just goes on and on. What is holding blacks back is the lack of parental support from a two parent family, lack of commitment to getting a good education and the non-stop crime spree showcased nightly on the news. Nothing about the Falcon's stadium is going to divide the community more than it already is.
Reality February 21, 2014 at 07:40 AM
Here,here Larry V. 2014 allows all to get a good education and be productive members of society . Try having children after college,matter you have a job, after you get married and then the income gap will lessen and unemployment will go down. I did not get a Harvard degree for free ,so should I cry that I am disadvantaged? This entire city is run by African Americans, mayor, city council, chief of police, majority of mayor s team, board of education, APS superintendent , as well as all of the national figures you noted. So why is the crime rate still so high in the male African American population in Atlanta? Why are there so many unwed Moms? What have these above mentioned local and national leaders done for their own community? Seems like not much since even Obama the appointed king has not delivered his hope and change, so Atlanta , please stop playing the race card on everything ! Get a life and live it and work it ! By the way, I am still waiting on my freebie Harvard degree like the two Obamas had the opportunity to receive!
Steve Brooks March 03, 2014 at 10:27 AM
Instead of a blank wall, how about a 20' electric fence,especially around the parking lot, with police dogs for the entire game...


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