Vine City residents demand contract

Before representatives gathered Thursday for a Community Benefits Agreement meeting at Old City Hall, residents of Vine City and English Avenue released a video demanding that city leaders to fix their neighborhood. The call came in anticipation of the new $1.2 billion downtown stadium being built for the Atlanta Falcons. Residents of the neighborhoods say they want a binding agreement before the stadium is built.

“It’s insulting, insensitive, demeaning, dishonest, despicable and deceptive,” said Lindsey Street Baptist Church Pastor Rev. Anthony Motley of the treatment by Mayor Kasim Reed, the City Council and other city officials during negotiations for the Community Benefits Agreement.

The Voices Within Vine City and English Avenue released a 10-minute video that starts with the words, “Making The Case For A Community Benefits Agreement.”

The narrator then describes what he says are “broken promises” from the past when the Georgia Dome was built in 1992.

“Vine City and English Avenue are the voiceless population hidden beneath trees that are not seen, ignored by representatives, politicians and the rest of Atlanta,” the video explains.

Neighbors say they want a profit-sharing agreement that lays out exactly how $45 million will be spent, and future revenue.

Motley says the Atlanta City Council changed the wording of a deal between the neighborhoods and the city for the Falcons stadium.

“It gives the city the ability to put that plan and others on the shelf. We want an agreement, a binding legal contract,” said Rev. Motley.

The video makes the case that without intervention, 96 percent of Atlanta’s poor – particularly in Vine City and English Avenue — have no chance of rising out of poverty.

“There will be no end in sight in the relentless pursuit of the proper treatment of our people,” said Motley, who serves as a spokesman for the collective. “We are not going to be run over by them [Mayor Reed, City Council].”

Timothy Cullins grew up in the English Avenue neighborhood and told WSB-TV that he doesn’t want to see history repeat itself.

“They promised us so much when they built the [Georgia Dome],” he said. “They promised some of the senior citizens around here things they was going to do, and we ended up with parking lots.”

Councilman Michael Julian Bond said in an interview with the station that the city is trying to put together a plan to reach an agreement, but he says the city doesn’t have much leverage in the situation because the Falcons are paying for the majority of the new stadium.

See the video here.

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