COBB COUNTY, Ga. - The clear-cutting has been fast and furious on the land that will soon hold the new Atlanta Braves stadium in Cobb County.
For as long as anyone can remember, the wooded plot near I-75 and I-285 in Cobb County was a place to escape for the hundreds of office workers nearby, but by Tuesday afternoon the landscape has changed dramatically. Pictures now show a clear cut area with piles of wood and trees.
Those who live and work near the site were stunned at the speed of the work once the county approved the contracts with the Braves last week.
“They've been going very quick and we've seen that beautiful forest disappear in just a few weeks,” said Renee Ray who works near the new stadium site. “It’s amazing how fast it’s gone.”
“You can't see anything but them working when you look out the window,” said Sharnetta Williams who also works nearby. “The trees are gone; it’s kind of depressing to see all that come down so quickly.”
With less than three years to build a major league ballpark, and hopefully a large retail and housing development next door, time is of the essence. Those involved told Channel 2’s Ross Cavitt the first order of business is moving the huge colonial pipelines that right now run underneath what will be the stadium itself on the 80 acre site.
The work kicked into fast forward almost as soon as county commissioners approved the formal contracts with the Braves to put up to nearly $400 million of taxpayer money on the line for the new complex. The approval came in a contentious meeting that saw supporters grab all the public speaking spots leading to some of the opponents being escorted out in a loud huff.
Rich Pellegrino with the Citizens for Governmental Transparency was one of those, He says the one-sided debate only ended up helping opponents gather support.
“We've definitely attracted more members, more resources and some expert legal researchers we didn't have before because many people are up in arms,” said Pellegrino.
As the crews keep clear-cutting, opponents say they will plot their next move, in an attempt to stop the bulldozers altogether.
Those opposing the stadium have filed ethics complaints, and plan to contest the bond validation when that hearing comes up before a judge.