Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to provided the latest version of the community survey results.
By David Pendered
A neighborhood coalition on Monday released its wish list for the redevelopment of Turner Field. Some of the desires could be accommodated by plans of a development team named by the city to redevelop Turner Field – if traffic congestion can be managed.
Traffic congestion was the No. 1 concern cited by respondents when asked their thoughts if Turner Field continues to serve as a sports or major events venue.
That said, there’s not much appetite in the neighborhood for reusing the stadium. Just 35 percent think it should be reused; 22 percent think it should be demolished.
Survey results were released three weeks after Atlanta named a preferred bidder to redevelop Turner Field and about 70 surrounding acres. Turner Field Community Benefits Coalition initiated the survey by Sycamore Consulting before Atlanta announced it had selected a preferred bidder.
The development team consists of Georgia State University, Carter, and Oakwood LLC. Negotiations between the city and development team likely are underway.
Their plan envisions a football stadium at Turner Field and a baseball stadium at the site of the former Braves stadium. The prior stadium was demolished for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. Plans call for residential and student housing and an array of retail.
This section of the survey results address the traffic concerns voiced by residents:
- “Event-day traffic and congestion has always been a concern of residents. When asked what would concern people most if the Turner Field Stadium is reused as an athletic or major event venue, traffic and congestion ranked higher than all other response options, combined. Residents would like to see an improved traffic plan in the future that would allow them to easily access their residences when events are in progress.”
The survey portrays the redevelopment of Turner Field as a, “unique opportunity.” The bottom line is a shared desire for a, “well integrated, mixed use development.”
The survey results ranked residents’ desires. This is the outcome:
- “More: Grocery stores, restaurants & neighborhood businesses;
- “Same: Hotels, retirement housing & attached housing (like townhomes);
- “Fewer: Big box stores, subsidized housing & hotels.”
Other responses include:
- “New development should support and blend in with the surrounding neighborhoods;
- “The area should be used for mixed use development;
- “There is low level of support for a casino or office space;
- “Having a safe place to live is a very important neighborhood quality;
- “The community needs more neighborhood businesses, restaurants, and a grocery store;
- “Sidewalks, access to transit and ease of travel outside of the neighborhood are important transportation issues.”
Sycamore Consulting was formed in 1996. The Decatur-based, female-owned firm has a client list that includes MARTA, Georgia Department of Transportation, and the Atlanta Regional Commission. The cities of Decatur, Roswell and Milton are on the list.
Funding for the survey was provided by the SMP Community Fund. Additional support was provided by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and two Atlanta City councilmembers – Carla Smith and Andre Dickens.
The survey covered 1,783 adults from Oct. 26 through Nov. 21, 2015. The survey was conducted via door-to-door visits, online, and hard-copy surveys. The margin of error is plus/minus 5 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.