Rec authority says Hank Aaron statue to stay, Braves say no deal yet

UPDATED: The fate of the Hank Aaron statue remains in limbo, it seems.

A few hours after the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority Executive Director Keisha Lance Bottoms said the Hank Aaron statue at Turner Field would be staying at The Ted, the Atlanta Braves issued as statement saying not so fast.

In a statement Wednesday, the Braves said: “We were surprised by the release from Keisha Lance Bottoms as we do not have an agreement regarding the Hank Aaron statue.

“We believe the statue should be located wherever Hank Aaron would like it to go and we have stated this position to Ms. Bottoms. The Braves organization is committed to respecting his wishes and we are hopeful that Ms. Bottoms has this same position. We are in discussions with Hank, and once he makes his intentions clear to us, we will make the appropriate arrangements. Regardless, we will honor Hank and his legacy with the Braves in a significant way at SunTrust Park. Hank is and will always be a treasure to us and our community.”

To read more about the Hank Aaron statue and the limbo that it remains in, click here or read Thursday’s edition of The Atlanta Journal Constitution.

More as this develops…

Original Post: The bronze statue of Atlanta Braves legend Hank Aaron will not be headed to Cobb County when the team moves to the new SunTrust Park for the 2017 season, according to the head of the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority.

Keisha Lance Bottoms, the executive director of the authority said in an interview Wednesday that her organization has found documents that show the statue is owned by the authority.

The fate of the statue has been in dispute, with the authority saying it owns the statue and the Braves saying they planned to move it to their new ballpark.

“We were able to work out an agreement with the Braves. We are very excited about it,” Bottoms said.

Bob Hope, longtime Atlanta marketing and public relations guru who organized the nonprofit that paid for the statue, has said he believed the statue belonged to Aaron, and its fate also should be Aaron’s choice.

Hope said he was surprised to learn a document outlining ownership exists. He said he did not recall ownership being transferred to the Braves or the authority when the statue was erected at the former Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in 1982.

A message left for a Braves spokeswoman was not immediately returned.

The fates of several pieces of Atlanta sports memorabilia have been uncertain since the Braves announced their plans to move to Cobb. Georgia State University and their development partners Carter and Oakwood Development, who are in negotiations to buy Turner Field, have pledged to preserve whatever sports landmarks remain on site.

More on this story as it develops.

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