Atlanta

Anti-training center groups attempt to get project put up for public vote

ATLANTA — Groups opposed to the proposed Atlanta public safety training center now have a new strategy.

They’re calling for a public vote on whether to move forward with the project.

Just a day after they lost the vote at Atlanta City Council to halt construction, the groups have now filed paperwork to get the citizens of Atlanta a vote on it.

“This is a battle for the heart of the city of Atlanta,” organizer Kamau Franklin said from the steps of City Hall Wednesday.

Organizers announced they’re trying to take the decision on the training facility out of the hands of the City Council and put it into the hands of voters.

“I have in my hand the approved petition form,” said Paul Glaze.

Opponents to the training facility say they filed that form in the city clerk’s office, which begins the process of making the funding for the Atlanta public safety training center a question on the November ballot. But the process isn’t easy.

“We’re going to start the process of collecting more than 75,000 signatures because we want the will of the people to be heard,” said Gary Spencer with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

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The organizers are angry that the Atlanta City Council approved the $67 million funding for the site.

“The city council has failed over and over again, to listen to the masses of people in Atlanta,” Franklin said.

The city council heard a marathon 15 hours of public input on the funding and still voted for the project.

The organizers hinted they may ask a court for an injunction to get the construction stopped until a potential vote.

“Now, we’re taking it to the people. We’re taking it to the ballot so that we can do what our elected officials refused to do, which is vote down Cop City,” said Scarlett Mayoralgo, with Working Families Power.

Channel 2′s Richard Elliot contacted Mayor Andre Dickens’ office for comment. His office sent a statement, saying:

“We respect each person’s right to free speech and the process regarding referendum. The City will continue to engage our community to answer questions, share information and receive feedback on plans for the Public Safety Training Center. We firmly believe that our residents deserve well-trained first responders who have access to adequate training facilities. We will continue to share our view that the PSTC and the more than 300 acres of greenspace are the right approach to ensuring Atlanta will be a national model for public safety.”

It is still unclear that even if the measure makes it to a November ballot, if it will be a binding or a non-binding referendum.

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