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ATLANTA -- A watchdog group is launching an effort to place a ballot measure before Atlanta voters calling for the repeal of public financing for a new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons.
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William Perry of Common Cause Georgia said Thursday it'll be a "monumental task" to get the 35,000 signatures needed to qualify for the November ballot. But Perry says the effort is worth it so the public can have a say in the process.
State and city officials have signed off on the $1 billion stadium in downtown Atlanta. Officials estimate $200 million from public bonds will be used to build the new, retractable-roof stadium. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has said the stadium is a key project that will create jobs and revitalize downtown neighborhoods.
Mayor Reed issued a statement on Common Cause Georgia's announcement Thursday afternoon:
"William Perry is sacrificing the reputation of a once venerable and well-respected organization for the sake of furthering his own personal ambition. His attempt to derail the stadium development is a losing proposition. The state-of-the-art facility is going to help strengthen the city's $10 billion tourism and convention industry and the 220,000 jobs it supports, spur economic development in the surrounding neighborhoods, and keep the Atlanta Falcons in the heart of downtown for the next 30 years.
We have already had tangible wins because of the approved stadium development deal. The construction of the new stadium will create much needed-construction jobs and include opportunities for women and small business-owners. As a result of the stadium deal, Atlanta recently was named a host city for the College Football Playoff series, expected to immediately become a mega-event in the nation. The city's Chick-Fil-A bowl will become a national semifinal once every three years, with the first Atlanta game scheduled for Dec. 31, 2016 in the Georgia Dome. The next three are planned for the new retractable-roof Falcons stadium in the 2019, 2022 and 2025 seasons. In addition, the city of Atlanta is now able to robustly compete to host a Super Bowl, perhaps as soon as 2019.
These types of events help create and sustain jobs in our city, have a significant economic impact and help us maintain Atlanta's position as the dominant city in the Southeastern United States. Common Cause Georgia should focus on moving our city forward, not taking us backwards."
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