On Tuesday, Mayor Kasim Reed met with leaders of Friendship Baptist Church to discuss the construction of the new $1 billion Falcons stadium and a new snag in the plan may have been uncovered.
Lloyd Hawk, the board chairman of Friendship Baptist Church, told WSB-TV that Tuesday’s meeting was productive, however a deal has not yet been reached. During the meeting, concerns were voiced about the proximity of alcohol sales to the church. In Georgia, the minimum distance between a church and alcohol sales must be 100 yards.
“Looking at the revised drawings of situating the stadium closely behind the church, we’re not sure that fits the 100-yard ordinance,” Hawk said to WSB-TV Atlanta.
Officials working for the city of Atlanta and the Georgia World Conference Center both confirmed that the distance was unlikely to be a problem.
The city of Atlanta had offered the church $15.5 million to relocate to make way for the Falcons stadium, but the proposal was initially rejected.
The city’s chief operating officer released a memo in response to the rejection, part of which included the following:
“The city continues to support plans to build a new stadium on the south site and evaluate the site options attached, which may not necessitate the acquisition and reconstruction of Friendship Church.”
Hawk was optimistic about the church and the city reaching a deal that worked for both parties.
“I think that we’ll be in a position where we can work out something for everyone and that the proposal of having the church under the shadow of the stadium won’t occur,” Hawk told WSB-TV.
Another meeting will take place next week.