With Stadium Deal Official, Atlanta Begins Planning for Braves Departure

Nov 27, 2013

Atlanta City Councilman Carla Smith (middle) wants a task force of neighborhood leaders and city officials to help with redevelopment planning for the Turner Field area.

Now that the deal to relocate the Atlanta Braves to Cobb County is official, the city of Atlanta is beginning to prepare for the team’s departure.

Earlier this month, Mayor Kasim Reed said Turner Field would be demolished after the team relocates in 2017. He vowed to transform the area into a vibrant middle-class neighborhood.

“I think that we're going to be able to make a pretty significant announcement about the development of a 60-acre tract at a time when East Atlanta is absolutely exploding and doing well, at a time when we need to make sure that there's a place for middle class families to live," said Reed. "I guarantee that we’re not going to leave a vacant Ted (Turner Field).”

Meanwhile, City Councilwoman Carla Smith, whose district includes Turner Field, is carrying legislation that would create a task force to help with redevelopment plans.

“One of the things that I would like to see come out of the committee is I’d like to do a new redevelopment plan for that area and in that I’m sure we’ll see mixed, residential, and commercial [development],” said Smith.

The task force would be made up of neighborhood leaders and city officials, including representatives from the mayor’s office and the city’s planning department. 

Smith said the task force would build off a 2006 redevelopment plan, which itself is an update of a 1993 plan.   

When the Braves originally announced the tentative deal with Cobb, Smith was one of several council members who expressed frustration over being left in the dark during the mayor’s failed negotiations with the Braves. She expects more transparency moving forward.

“I think [the mayor will] come and show us what he’s working on and I don’t think there’s any reason to be confidential anymore. I think it’ll be an open process,” said Smith.

The City Council could vote on Smith's task force legislation Monday.

If approved, Smith said the task force would begin meeting in January or early February, and shoot to have a new redevelopment plan for the area by summer 2014.