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Fulton County wants seat at Turner Field negotiations

For months the City of Atlanta has been courting buyers for Turner Field. Now Fulton County officials are saying: “Hold up. That’s our stadium, too.”

In an Oct. 28 letter to Mayor Kasim Reed and others (you can read a PDF version here: 10-28-14 Braves letter), County Commission Chairman John Eaves has asked to be included in any future negotiations over the stadium’s fate.

“Recognizing that the county is an equity stakeholder in Turner Field, county officials fully intend to be and must be, engaged in all aspects related to what will happen at the site following the Braves impending departure,” Eaves wrote. “Consequently, please include the county on all correspondence related to this matter and provide notice to the county of any and all meetings as well.”

Eaves noted the Braves and Atlanta have been discussing the stadium’s fate “without having solicited any involvement” from the county. He requested a meeting to get an update on negotiations and begin a dialogue on “all outstanding issues relating to Turner Field and prospective uses of the property including the impacts upon the surrounding community.”

Finally, Eaves proposed establishing a “joint committee to cooperatively establish certain goals and timetables related to this matter as well as to review and approve plans related to Turner Field and the surrounding area.”

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The letter was addressed to Reed; Violet Travis Ricks, executive director of the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority; and Gregory Heller, the Braves’ general counsel.

Eaves said Monday he has not received a response.

Georgia State University and others have expressed interest in buying the 77-acre Turner Field site when the Braves depart to a new Cobb County stadium in 2017. Reed has pressed the Braves for a firm departure date, saying that would make it easier to sell the downtown stadium.

Fulton County officials aren’t the only ones who feel sidelined in negotiations. Last summer some Atlanta City Council members said they, too, want to be more than a rubber stamp on a Turner Field sale and other land deals.

About the Author

David Wickert covers transportation issues for the Enterprise team. He joined the AJC in 2010 and has also covered local government in Gwinnett and Fulton counties.

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