As plans move ahead for a new Falcons stadium, church pastors are calling attention to the struggling neighborhoods near the proposed stadium site. Some of those church pastors met in northwest Atlanta on Thursday.
People in the area say promises of community revitalization never materialized with the construction of the Georgia Dome 20 years ago. They hope this time will be different.
The English Avenue Vine City Ministerial Alliance is made up of more than 30 church pastors. Two churches in the area of the proposed site for the new stadium face decisions on selling their property and moving. Others are concerned about the impact of a $1 billion retractable roof stadium during Sunday services, and other times.
Earlier this week, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority and the Atlanta Falcons announced a lead architect and showed design concepts for the new stadium. The Falcons, the City of Atlanta, and private interests are to contribute $45 million for improvements in the Vine City and English Avenue neighborhoods.
"We're cautiously optimistic. I believe that based on what the mayor has promised and what his past actions have been, we're quite hopeful that we're going to see some serious revitalization and some promises are going to be kept this time," said Reverend Howard Beckham.
Church leaders say they hope an influx of money and attention will help address key areas such as unemployment, housing, and services for young people.
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