Talks continue for churches in Dome's shadow

3:19 PM, Mar 10, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA, Ga. -- The city of Atlanta and the Falcons have reached a tentative deal for a new open-air stadium. Now all that stands in the way is a city council vote-and two churches. The current site selection would place the stadium's footprint on top of two Baptist churches. But Mayor Kasim Reed made it clear at Thursday's announcement he wasn't going to push anyone toward a decision.

"It's very important that Friendship be treated in a manner that is worthy of its 150 year old tradition," Reed said Thursday of Friendship Baptist Church. He said talks are continuing to be cordial.

Sunday morning most of the church's members approached by 11Alive said they were told to leave public comments to their leadership. But several said their 150 years of history, 130 in their current spot, were very important to them.

"I think going to church is more important than having a stadium personally," said Tracy Coakley. "I like football, we have athletes in our family, but I like my church more."

Mt. Vernon Baptist church is even closer to the Dome. Their pastor told 11Alive in January they are pleased with their current location.

"We are not just an inward church," Reverend Rodney Turner said as a Falcons playoff game was about to start. "We're interested in outward reach into our community."

Sunday through a security guard they said "no comment" on the current situation.

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