Not everyone was happy to hear news that the city of Atlanta has tentatively reached a deal with the Falcons to build a new stadium. Some residents in the struggling neighborhoods around the Georgia Dome – where the new stadium is also expected to be built – said they think taxpayer money could be better spent.
Under the proposed deal, the city would contribute $200 million, which would come from the city's hotel-motel tax. The other $800 million of the billion-dollar cost would be paid by the Falcons. The Falcons will also contribute an additional $50 million in infrastructure costs.
The team would then spend another $15 million – which would be matched by the city – in projects designed to revitalize the neighborhoods around the new stadium. Those neighborhoods include English Avenue, Vine City and Castleberry Hill.
The Rev. Andrew Motley, is the pastor at Lindsey Street Baptist Church in the English Avenue neighborhood. He says the area pays a steep price in traffic, smog and more on game days.
Rainwater runoff from the Georgia World Congress Center and Dome also causes this area to flood.
Many homes in the area are abandoned.
Residents believe that taxpayer money would be better spent in the neighborhood than on a new stadium.
Motley said that the money was also promised to revitalize the neighborhoods when the Georgia Dome was built. He said they never saw those funds.
"Well it didn't benefit it. It didn't benefit it. And of course, when something goes unaddressed, it's going to continue to deteriorate," Motley said.
Motley says the $30 million being promised to the area as part of the new stadium deal should only be the beginning. He and others say to really change the area, there should be a continued profit-sharing between the Falcons and their neighbors.
Those funds could be used for social programs, like activity centers for residents and also small business loans, for things like new housing and restaurants, which would also benefit sports fans.