Column: Atlanta stadium deals a warning to others

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Matheson said the city of Atlanta made the right decision in letting the Braves go, since they’ll be moving only 12 miles up the interstate. But it’s hard to give much credit to Mayor Kasim Reed, who essentially had no choice after committing $200 million in city money to the Falcons’ new stadium. If he could’ve found another $300 million at the end of a rainbow, chances are it would’ve wound up in the Braves’ pocket.

Seriously, folks, what the heck is going on here?

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the Georgia Dome, which even after those new stadiums open for Minnesota and San Francisco will still be younger than seven other facilities and is a 1990s contemporary of eight others. OK, so maybe a retractable roof would be nice, given Atlanta’s climate, but that surely could’ve been accomplished by renovating the current stadium for considerably less money (sorry, we don’t buy the consulting firm that claimed it would be just as costly as building a new stadium).

Speaking of things we aren’t buying, how about most of the Braves’ logic for moving to the `burbs. They talk of easier access, yet are leaving a city with a rapid transit system for a county that has none. They talk about traffic woes around Turner Field, yet plan to build on a site with some of the metro area’s worst traffic congestion. They talk of what it would cost to upgrade Turner Field, yet will spend even more on a new stadium.

But those are Atlanta’s problems.

Let’s get back to building-it-up-so-they-can-tear-it-down coming soon to your town.

You’ve been warned.

___

Paul Newberry is a national writer for The Associated Press. Write to him at pnewberry(at)ap.org or www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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