Will Mercedes-Benz Stadium help neighborhoods when past arenas haven’t?


Will Mercedes-Benz Stadium help neighborhoods when past arenas haven’t?

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Bob Andres/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Mercedes Benz Stadium, future home of the Atlanta Falcons, sits next to the Georgia Dome. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

Atlanta Stadium didn’t. Neither did the Georgia Dome. When the city’s organizing committee built the Olympic Stadium, which became Turner Field after the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, the complex also didn’t deliver much of an economic punch to the neighborhoods around it.

Thelma Bentoan, who has lived in English Avenue near the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium since 1985, talks to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed about an anti-displacement fund to help protect homeowners from rising property taxes near the new Falcons stadium. April 12, 2017. (HENRY TAYLOR / HENRY.TAYLOR@AJC.COM) The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

But many residents in the struggling neighborhoods the shadow of Mercedes-Benz Stadium say they hope this time will be different. They point to many new initiatives that will bring tens of millions of dollars into rebuilding the communities.

Antonia Thomas serves foods at The West Nest concession stand during a tour of Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Tuesday, August 15, 2017. The West Nest is part of Westside Works, a program started by the Arthur Blank Family Foundation as part of an attempt to turn around Vine City and English Avenue, two of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM Hyosub Shin/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

As the Falcons prepare to open the new $1.5 billion stadium on Saturday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution talks to residents and civic leaders about their hopes and concerns about efforts to revitalize historic neighborhoods near the new stadium.

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