Neighborhoods to receive money no matter where stadium is built

by: Lori Geary Updated:

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ATLANTA —

An investment commitment of up to $45 million for neighborhoods near the potential south-side site for the Falcons' new stadium will be honored no matter where the stadium is ultimately built, officials said.

"This place is a really budding artistic community," said Castleberry Hill artist Luke Edan. "There's a lot happening here so I think that would do nothing but good for the area."

Castleberry Hill, Vine City and English Avenue surround the south-side site, but the city and the Georgia World Congress Center must agree to buy Mount Vernon Baptist Church and Friendship Baptist Church by Aug. 1, or the stadium will be built on the north site.

"There are a lot of people in this area who enjoy having the stadium here," Edan told Channel 2's Lori Geary. "Keeping it near the MARTA stations seems like a good idea."

Falcons owner Arthur Blank released a statement saying the Falcons have no interest in forcing the churches to move.

"Due to our desire to keep the stadium process on track for the 2017 season opening, we determined it was prudent to also begin the feasibility and inspection process of the north site," the statement said.

The north-side site is near Northside Drive and Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard, about a half-mile from the Georgia Dome.

"I think it would be better to be closer to the MARTA stations," said Reginald Boyland. "That way, people could get off and get into the game."