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Good-bye Atlanta Braves!

Turner Field to be Demolished in 2017

11/15/2013, 9:29 a.m.
In three more years, the statue of baseball great Henry Aaron will be moving 12 miles north to Cobb County as the Atlanta Braves have announced the team is relocating to a proposed site near I-285 and I-75 North. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said he wanted to keep the Braves in the city but couldn’t beat the offer made by Cobb County. Photo by Stan Washington.

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.

The team will move but it will retain the name Atlanta Braves and not become the Cobb Braves. “It’s only 12 miles up the road. It’s not like they are moving to another state,” Reed said.

The mayor said he looks forward to going to enjoy Braves games at their new home.

Source: Associated Press writers Christina Cassidy, Paul Newberry, George Henry, Kate Brumback and Jeff Martin in Atlanta and The Atlanta Voice staff.