Atlantans filled the seats in Morehouse College’s Sale Hall Auditorium recently to fervently express their concerns about a proposed new Falcon’s stadium.
The main issue was the estimated $300 million cost of the stadium which would be raised through an increase in Georgia’s hotel and motel tax. Many taxpayers said that the tax increase would be a waste of taxpayers’ dollars.
The crowd addressed panelists including Dr. Benjamin Flowers, an associate Professor of Architecture at Georgia Tech, Wyc Orr, a member of the Common Cause Georgia Board and Frank Poe, Executive Director of the Georgia World Congress Center. They were forced to play defense.
Those advocated for the stadium maintained that taxpayers should expect to pay only 1/3 of the cost of the proposed stadium, a far cry from the 100 percent they paid in the building of the Georgia Dome 20 years ago.
“The public sector will own 100 percent of the new stadium for 30 cents on the dollar,” Poe from the Georgia World Congress Center said. He added that the public-private partnership between the Falcons and taxpayers could spell huge returns for both parties, in the form of millions of dollars in annual revenue.
The panel members encouraged Atlantans to take this potential partnership seriously. “It is important for both Atlanta and Georgia taxpayers to engage in the process and make sure their voices are heard,” Common Cause Georgia Board Member Wyc Orr said. “Our goal was give the public an update on negotiations between the Georgia World Congress Center, a public authority, and the Atlanta Falcons, a private entity, but certainly one that highly values and needs the public trust.”