Group of Atlanta, Fulton Co. officials working to keep Braves

1:26 PM, Nov 26, 2013   |    comments
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Public hearing on Cobb Braves stadium deal

ATLANTA -- Tuesday evening, Cobb Commissioners are set to discuss a deal to build a new $672 million stadium for the Atlanta Braves.

The commissioners are expected to vote on a Memorandum of Understanding, or agreement, between Cobb County and the Braves. 

Many Cobb officials have called the move "all but a done deal," pending the outcome of the vote.

But a small group in Fulton County says, not so fast.

Monday, Fulton County Commission Chair John Eaves hosted nearly 10 people in his downtown office. The 90 minutes informal meeting was essentially a brainstorming session: a discussion of "next steps" depending on the outcome of the Cobb vote, and even talks of a possible counter offer.

In an interview Monday with 11Alive's Blayne Alexander, Eaves noted what he called a "long road" before the Cobb move is a done deal.

"Perhaps along the way, it may not happen," Eaves said. "So we just need to be in terms of either a counter offer at some appropriate time or in the event that it doesn't work out, we want to be prepared to receive the Braves."

Eaves described Monday's meeting as a "meeting of stakeholders working to keep the Braves." This was the first such gathering, though there have been a number of phone calls in recent days.

Eaves declined to name individuals in the meeting, but said the group included members of Atlanta City Council, Fulton County Board of Commissioners, and representatives from the business community and the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority. He said neither Mayor Reed nor anyone from his office were at the meeting.

"People are hurt, people are disappointed and we can't just lie down and allow it to happen without any sort of resistance or some sort of counter."

The group has also discussed possible revenue sources for a counter offer. College Park Mayor Jack Longino told Alexander in the days immediately following the Braves' announcement, he received a phone call from an Atlanta City Councilman, asking if the city would be open to possibly extending the rental car tax.

"That's a decision that I couldn't make alone. That would have to go to council," he said. "But I told him, yes. Anything I can do to help Atlanta keep the Braves, I'm willing to do."

Eaves called today's vote "very telling" as they consider next steps. The group is set to meet again next week. 

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