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Neighbors hope Falcons stadium deals will help community

11:43 PM, Sep 20, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- For the congregation at Mount Vernon Baptist, the stakes were as high as the steeple in the vote to sell the church and make way for the new Atlanta Falcons stadium.
But so were the emotions. 

"It's appalling for the city to consider desecrating the sacred ground of two historic black churches to build a stadium facility," said 50-year member Vickie Johnson. "For a second-rate football team such as the Falcons." 

Still the church believes that with the 14-million dollars it will receive from the sale, it can increase its efforts to help the residents of Vine City and English Avenue. 

"98-years," emphasized Mount Vernon's pastor Rodney Turner. "This is where we have anchored ourselves; and this is where the help is needed." 

The church may relocate to the Mims Park area, which is targeted for a 50-million dollar facelift. The hope here is that a world-class stadium will generate world-class neighborhoods.

"Think it could be largely positive on the broader community," said Vine City homeowner DuBois Bowman. "I anticipate there will be some continued revitalization in the area that I think could be very healthy for business owners and residents in the community." 

While the billion dollar stadium is expected to bring 40-million dollars a year to the city's general fund, the church gets to build its spiritual equity here, even if they move. 

"The property, the rich history that is here, you get saddened by that," said resident Denise Johnson. "But when you do think about that expansion of what's coming and the growth of the community you can embrace change."

 

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