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Cobb County's Financial Commitment To Braves Still Unclear, But Expected By Week's End
Published November 13, 2013
PAYING THE PIPER: A MARIETTA DAILY JOURNAL editorial states Lee has "played it close to the vest and has declined to say whether property or sales taxes would be increased." Once the "euphoria of the Braves announcement wears off, he might find those such increases a tough sell to county residents, if they aren't already." However, if "most or all of Cobb's share of the deal is to be paid for via the hotel/motel tax or via revenue bond issue by the Cobb-Marietta Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority, Lee likely will find the going easier." It is likely that the stadium "will more than pay for itself and that its presence will unleash a flood of additional sales and hotel/motel tax revenues." But pro sports teams are "notorious for playing one community against another in order to benefit themselves." There is "no guarantee that even if the Braves move here is finalized, that the Braves won't start playing hardball against Cobb for a better deal later on" (MARIETTA DAILY JOURNAL, 11/13).
BRIDGING THE GAP: In Georgia, Jon Gillooly notes one feature Lee "believes will add to the accessibility" of the proposed ballpark is a "bridge that will span I-285, connecting the Galleria office park with the 60-acre property where the stadium is expected to be built." Lee said that the bridge "would be for pedestrians and for a shuttle that would pick up fans from around the area and bring them to the game." He added that the bridge, included in the projected $672M cost, "will be functional when the stadium opens" in '17. Meanwhile, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is planning a $951M "reversible lanes" toll-road project "along Interstates 75 and 575 through Cobb and Cherokee counties" which is scheduled to open to traffic in '18. Lee said that the county "will be able to place its Cobb Community Transit buses on those new lanes and take commuters to and from Atlanta." He added that there also is a "study the county expects to finish next spring that will reveal whether a bus rapid-transit system connecting Kennesaw State University with Midtown Atlanta is a viable option." Lee: "It's something we've prepared for, it's something we planned for, and we're moving forward on the projects before this (Braves announcement) even came about in anticipation of what we needed to do for the area" (MARIETTA DAILY JOURNAL, 11/13). Reed said, "Because of the transportation issues, if Cobb goes forward with this, they’re going to have to have rail. Which would be the first introduction of light rail" (AJC.com, 11/12).