We held almost a dozen public meetings between the announcement and last month’s vote. Opponents routinely attended and detailed the reasons they felt we should not help bring the Braves here. We listened. And though we do not believe they are correct, we respected their concerns.
Individual Cobb County commissioners held their own public meetings to hear from both sides. Commissioners kept a careful tally of those who called and emailed their offices with opinions both for and against the stadium agreement. The numbers were overwhelmingly in favor of this deal.
We worked to ensure residential property taxes would not rise as a result of this project. Businesses near the new stadium will bear a substantial portion of its construction costs and the team itself will invest $280 million upfront and another $6.1 million annually for 30 years. These figures exclude the estimated $400 million the team plans to spend by creating an entertainment district around the new stadium.
Cumberland area businesses are willing to help support this agreement because they understand what it means for them. It means customers. The Board of Commissioners understands what it means for the county. It means jobs. It means visitors. It means an unparalleled economic boost that will benefit the entire county. It means funds that will help keep our tax rates low.
We could have held a year’s worth of meetings on this topic with the only result being that the team would go elsewhere. The fundamental objections of critics would remain, the huge support would remain, but the opportunity would be lost.
Instead, this will be a successful project for the public and the region, because we made the right choices for Cobb.
Tim Lee is chairman of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners.