COBB COUNTY, Ga. -- With a unanimous 5-0 vote, Cobb County Commissioners took what could be their last official action Tuesday to pave the way for a new Atlanta Braves stadium by 2017.
The vote wasn't on the $672 million stadium itself, but to rezone 74 acres around it for a $400 million mixed-use commercial development of offices, businesses and residences.
Some existing business owners and residents near the property spoke out against the project, which they fear will create traffic problems and possibly hurt the value of their property. But East Cobb Commissioner Bob Ott, who made the approval motion, said, if anything, the new development should boost surrounding property values.
After the vote, Commission Chairman Tim Lee promised traffic issues will be addressed by new roads, a shuttle bus system and a new pedestrian bridge over I-285 linking the stadium to the Cumberland Galleria area. But he said the design and exact location of that bridge have yet to be worked out, as well as who will pay for it, since its cost is not included in the stadium deal.
Mike Plant, Atlanta Braves Executive VP of Business Operations, praised the vote after the meeting. He reassured reporters that the Braves will make sure traffic issues around the new Cobb County stadium will be much better than they are at the current downtown Atlanta location.
Still hanging is whether Cobb County Commissioners can begin issuing bonds for their nearly $400 million share of the stadium. Superior Court Judge Robert Leonard heard arguments for and against the taxpayer-backed bonds last week and said he will rule by the end of the month.
Whatever his ruling, both sides have indicated they would appeal.