Cobb County Chairman Tim Lee is using the second anniversary of the Atlanta Braves announcement of their move to Cobb County to talk up the economic benefits Cobb will receive and is already receiving.
In a ruling Monday that validated the sale of bonds for the Braves stadium, the Georgia Supreme Court said the deal “may push the law as far as it can go.” The order also raised the question of political ramifications of the transaction.
Shovels were a sign of excitement at last week’s groundbreaking for the new Atlanta Braves stadium in Cobb County, but they also recalled the grave dug for Jack Falls, who died in a construction accident on the old stadium.
He was killed in 1995 when a light tower he was working on collapsed at the Olympic Stadium, which became Turner Field. An engineer had miscalculated the load that the tower could bear. His family recently recovered a stone plaque from Turner Field that marks his legacy.
The final segment of the Noonday Creek Trail project in Cobb County is on schedule to open as early as June, when the trail will link Kennesaw Mountain and the Town Center commercial area.
The Noonday Creek Trail is a seven-mile paved pathway that has been under construction for about five years. Once it’s finished, the trail will connect a major retail and collegiate destination with one of the country’s major battlefield parks.
The area also has historic significance related to the Atlanta Campaign of the Civil War, which recognizes its 150th anniversary this summer. Noonday Creek and Bells Ferry were the site of a cavalry battle in June 1864 that left perhaps 100 dead and was deemed not decisive by one account.
A public authority in Cobb County may have the financial capacity to help pay for the planned Atlanta Braves stadium without a vote by the public, the county Board of Commissioners or a city council.
The Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority (Cobb-Marietta) has the sole power to set the hotel tax rate, according to state law. The Braves began talks with the coliseum authority in July, according to espn.com.
The coliseum authority now operates three destinations in the Cumberland area near the site of the planned Braves ballpark – Cobb Galleria Centre, Galleria Specialty Shops, and the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.
The notion offered by the Atlanta Braves that fans will find it easier to get to a ballgame in Cobb County than in downtown Atlanta ran into a buzz saw of criticism Monday.
“What a traffic nightmare!! I-75 and I-285 are already [troubled],” a writer identified as MayorDowning commented on ajc.com. “Now you’re adding to it.”
In reality, the Cobb site isn’t a hopeless traffic nightmare. The planned ballpark is alongside Gov. Nathan Deal’s major highway initiative. It’s in the middle of a grid of big roads served by three interstate highways. And it’s about a mile from the transfer station of Cobb’s bus system and its linkage to MARTA.
The I-75 corridor in Cobb and Cherokee counties is so densely developed that the 30-mile, two-lane toll road to be built in the corridor will have few negative environmental or social impacts.
This is the conclusion of the environmental impact study of the project completed by the Georgia Department of Transportation. While there’s no surprise in the result, the lack of impact on critters and land emphasizes the magnitude of the existing highway and development in Atlanta’s northwestern suburbs.
“This project is defined as the marginal addition of concrete to a 15-lane road,” said Brian Gist, a lawyer with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “When defined that way, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that it will have no effect.”