The deal for the new $1 billion Atlanta Falcons stadium includes $30 million for surrounding neighborhoods, but some residents are calling the process flawed.
Residents say it is not clear how projects will be chosen for funding, and many believe it could take decades before real improvement can be measured.
“It doesn’t seem that it’s going to benefit the people that are there now, the seniors who have lived there for 50 years,” English Avenue resident Tracy Bates said.
Bates’ community lies northwest of the stadium site. She said she is concerned because she’s seen money get pumped into projects before.
“The investment was made, but no change, or the changes they expected never happened,” Bates said.
Representatives from the Castleberry Hills community gave their final proposal on projects that they’d like funded by the community benefits deal.
The city of Atlanta is providing $15 million from a special property tax to pay for things like streetscapes and a community building. Another $15 million will be provided by the Arthur Blank Foundation for things like workforce development programs.
“Human capital absolutely has to be at the center of this investment,” Atlanta City Councilman Ivory Young said.
Young, who represents district 3, experienced the arrival of the Georgia Dome and the promises that came with it. He said the projects that resulted clearly did not transform the area.
“We have to take ordinary people, take them where they are and make the the beneficiary of these hundreds of millions,” Young said.
Bates said she remains skeptical.
“It’s frustrating to me, as a citizen, as someone who’s lived in the neighborhood,” Bates said.
Construction on the stadium is expected to create more than 1,400 full-time jobs. The Falcons plan to break ground on the project in April, with the stadium set to open in time for the 2017 football season.