The roller-coaster story of the Atlanta Falcons’ new stadium took yet another upward twist on Friday, and the journey into the unknown continues.
The more things change…
Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed announced Friday that Mount Vernon Baptist Church had dropped their price from $20.4 million to $15.5 million. This major development came about after the mayor himself got involved in the to-that-point stalled negotiations between the Georgia World Congress Center Authority and Mount Vernon, just as he did with the negotiations involving Friendship Baptist Church.
In spite of his apparent endorsement of the north site, the south site wasn’t one that Falcons owner Arthur Blank wanted to give up…and now he won’t have to. Was Blank working behind the scenes to make this happen? More than likely, yes. The sole involvement of Reed surely wasn’t the determining factor in getting not one but both churches on board with the stadium.
However, protestors from Morris Brown College were out in full force Thursday night in their fight against the new stadium at the south site. Their issue? Only a part of their campus is staked to be sold as part of the deal; that part would be sold to Friendship and consequently, the Falcons…if the congregation agrees. Morris Brown students and alumni want their campus kept as a whole, and who can blame them?
There’s a lot riding on this Sunday, even though it isn’t dependent upon a Falcons game. This Sunday, the Friendship congregation will vote on whether or not to sell their historic church for the new stadium. They’ll vote on whether to sell a vital part of their—and Morris Brown’s—history out for ‘progress.’ They’ll vote on their own ‘Old Faithful’ versus a quintessential New Age stadium.
The jury is out. If Blank has anything to say about it, we already know what the verdict will be.