Rows of camping tents set up on top of wooden pallets lie unoccupied at a press conference held by neighborhood residents at Tent City in on April 26, 2017. 
Photo: Henry Taylor / HENRY.TAYLOR@AJC.COM
Photo: Henry Taylor / HENRY.TAYLOR@AJC.COM

GSU police remove ‘Tent City’ from Turner Field

Georgia State University police removed tents and property from a protest encampment by the former Turner Field early Friday morning.

Members of the surrounding neighborhoods urged GSU to remove the tents, which were set up by protesters worried about plans to build Georgia State Stadium. Neighbors called the tents “an eyesore and traffic, health and safety hazards that detract from the community,” the university said in a news release. 

Protesters set up what became known as “Tent City” next to the future Georgia State Stadium in early April. The group said it wouldn’t leave until GSU and developer Carter signed a legal agreement to address gentrification and other issues that could result from redevelopment.

Later that month, GSU announced they had reached agreements with some neighborhood associations. But that did not include the protesting groups, and the tents remained. 

Georgia State Police Chief Joseph Spillane said it became “apparent that community tolerance for the abandoned tents and debris was waning.”

“We allowed the group to keep the tents up for more than two months, but the time has come for the university to clean up the property and move forward,” Spillane said in the statement.  

The Housing Justice League, an organization focused on the housing crisis, said on Instagram that GSU police raided the camp at 6:45 a.m. The caption, in part, said: “They did not give us any warning. There was no opportunity to gather any belongings. They destroyed everything. But we will not be intimidated into backing down.”

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 Police allowed tent owners to move their property to the street and will store the rest of the abandoned tents and property until their owners claim them, GSU said. 

The school and developer bought the 68-acre site last year for $30 million and put forth a redevelopment plan that includes a mix of retail, offices, student housing, apartments and a southern extension of Georgia State’s campus. Plans also call for The Ted to become a football stadium and a new baseball field to go where the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium used to be.

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Some residents of the neighborhoods surrounding Turner Field — Summerhill, Peoplestown, Mechanicsville, Pittsburgh and Grant Park — are concerned that the promised investments will not benefit everyone. (Henry Taylor/AJC)

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