— Commissioner Lee states that not approving the deal at next Tuesday’s meeting could jeopardize the deal.
“It’s one of those situations where the longer we drag it out all we do is create more noise and more doubt without any rationale,” Lee said. “I just think it’s better to move forward with it. It’s an economic deal. We have some timing issues we have to deal with in terms of getting a deal moving forward, and I think it’s in everybody’s interest to move forward.”
Meanwhile, Commissioner Birrell, who states she will vote for the stadium MOU, indicated reluctant support for postponing the vote to December 10.
“I am comfortable, and I’m OK with voting on Tuesday, but if all the commissioners are not and would like to see it postponed until the December 10th meeting, and if it’s not detrimental to this proposal, then I would consider that as well, just to give people time to weigh in,” Birrell said. “I’m just not sure what another two weeks is going to accomplish.”
In my mind, this is a big concession for a group that has been so adamant that the deal will go down on Tuesday. A crack like this, coupled with a poll showing 80% support for more discussion (and a majority opposing the project altogether) among Cobb taxpayers, increases the likelihood of postponement. Commissioner Cupid has not come out in support and has expressed concern over the speed of the deal going down. Commissioner Ott has not made his public position known (though I anticipate he will vote to approve the MOU). Birrell could be the swing vote on postponement, so I won’t be surprised if it happens. If Monday’s public town hall meeting goes like last Thursday’s, then everything will probably go down on Tuesday, If the opposition shows up in greater numbers, things could get interesting.
— The AJC has an article about traffic around the new stadium. In the discussion is a table of travel time comparisons between Turner and the Cobb stadium site based on yearly averages from 5:30-6pm at different metro-Atlanta locations (location, Turner, Cobb).
Gwinnett County (Beaver Ruin) 40 min. 32 min.
N. Fulton County (Holcomb Bridge Road) 66 min. 39 min.
Cobb County (I-75/575 interchange) 32 min. 10 min.
Midtown Atlanta 12 min. 11 mins.
Rockdale County (Conyers) 24 min. 44 min.
Stockbridge/SR 138 18 min. 39 min.
I think it shows why the Brave are so eager to move to Cobb; and, the east and south sides of the Perimeter are the biggest losers in this move.
— The Marietta Daily Journal likes the deal to the point of ridiculing the opposition.
Unfortunately, the Braves move has run into mounting criticism in Cobb. Those opponents have blinded themselves to the likelihood that the private-public partnership envisioned (in which the Braves pay 55 percent of the stadium cost) will be a generator of economic growth in Cobb equal or surpassing the opening of what is now the Lockheed Plant in World War II, the creation of what’s now Kennesaw State University in the early 1960s, the laying of a sewer trunk line through rural east Cobb in the late 1960s and the construction of I-75 through Cobb in the mid-1970s.
So, the stadium project is such an obvious economic plus that If you disagree with supporting it you must be “blinded?” Hogwash, and shame on the editor who flippantly rejects critics who have every right to be skeptical that the stadium might be a boondoggle. I think the critics are in a better position to note the overwhelming consensus of economists, backed by numerous studies of past stadium development projects, that sports stadiums, teams, and events have virtually zero increase in economic impact on their communities. As I note, this project almost certainly will boost economic activity in Cobb, because of the unique interjurisdictional attraction of the Braves, that will result in an influx of dollars that previously would not have been spent in the county. It is unclear if the amount will be sufficient to offset the County’s obligation, tough I am skeptical. Instead, I believe it would be wiser for supporters to acknowledge that the project may not be an economic “home run,” and certainly not a “grand slam” for the economy, but it is a project that Cobb taxpayers are willing to pay higher taxes for while acknowledging the potential economic benefits as a bonus. In this case, the proposal is more like a sacrifice bunt.