Mayor: Turner Field to be Demolished in 2017

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Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee said the team is working to finalize a memorandum of understanding that would be presented to the full commission at its Nov. 26 meeting.

He declined to answer any questions about public financing or the $450 million figure cited by Reed.

The Braves had made it clear for years they were not satisfied with Turner Field, located just south of downtown near some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. The team frequently cited a lack of neighborhood development, complaints about the closest MARTA rapid-transit station being about a mile away, and the inability to secure more parking spaces.

The site being considered in Cobb County also lacks any rail service. Reed said Tuesday he believes that Cobb County will need some type of rail service at the new stadium site to deal with traffic congestion. The Braves say a system of buses will be used to get fans around the site and predicted that access to the new stadium will be better than at Turner Field.

Derek Schiller, the team’s executive vice president of sales and marketing, said the Cobb Marietta Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority will own the new stadium, with construction scheduled to begin next summer. The team would be responsible for any cost overruns, and Schiller said other financial details would be released soon.

The Braves immediately launched a website that said the new stadium would be closer to the geographic center of the team’s fan base. Also, Census data shows the team is moving to a much more prosperous area, with a median household income of about $61,000 and a poverty level of 8.6 percent, compared to $23,000 and nearly 40 percent for the neighborhood surrounding Turner Field.

Turner Field opened as the 85,000-seat main stadium for the 1996 Olympics. After the Olympics, the stadium was renamed after former Braves owner Ted Turner, downsized to about 50,000 seats and converted to a baseball park for the 1997 season, replacing Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium across the street.

As Turner Field, the park hosted the 1999 World Series, 2000 All-Star game and four National League championship series.

(Photo: AP)

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