• Braves attention turned to Cobb quickly: New site viewed within 2 weeks


    ATLANTA - Channel 2 Action News investigative reporters began filing open-records requests as soon as the Atlanta Braves announced their move.

    Thursday, Cobb County released all emails and memos regarding conversations with the team or about the team. The records shed more light on just how quickly the whole process moved.

    The email conversations began with County Commission Chairman Tim Lee and Braves Vice President for Business Operations Mike Plant on July 3, where they acknowledged meeting earlier that day.

    That evening, Plant also wrote, "I want to reiterate our interest in exploring opportunities with you and Cobb County. That interest is genuine."

    Two weeks later, on July 19, Plant met Cobb Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Brooks Mathis. The two were already discussing detailed "parking information," and Plant was ready to hear about the county's "funding options."

    Plant also noted that his team had viewed a slide show and was "very impressed with the Circle 75 site opportunity" for the new stadium. Within days, they discussed the Braves' recent $100 million economic impact study.

    Then, on July 30, just days after the Braves reportedly proposed building an elevated train from Georgia State to Turner Field, Plant wrote to "make sure recent news stories weren't misinterpreted."

    There is no more written correspondence provided, until the Nov. 11 public announcement of the Braves' planned move. The emails do reference several face-to-face meetings and phone conversations as well.

    On Nov. 11, two emails include a news release, a fact sheet and talking points for key county officials, who had previously been left in the dark about the deal.

    That same day, the Cumberland Community Improvement District announced the cancellation of future meetings slated to discuss its existing master plan, to make way for its new cornerstone project.

    The City of Atlanta also released a document Thursday showing that as recently as mid-September, the Braves sent Atlanta officials a proposal for their lease renewal with a list of requests.

    The document also outlined what the Braves envisioned for future development around Turner Field.

    Clearly, the team was already in extensive talks with Cobb County at that point.

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