(From USA Today, November 12, 2013) The Atlanta Braves have announced that they will be leaving the city of Atlanta moving to a suburb just outside the city in 2017 for a new stadium. Atlanta’s mayor has said that once the team has moved to the new ball park, Turner Field will be demolished. The mayor also said once it has been leveled, “We’re going to have one of the largest developments for middle-class people that the city has ever had.”
The city of Atlanta, and the mayor, had hoped to keep the team inside the city, but financially it just wasn’t going to happen. By the time they invested the money into Turner Field to get it up to their liking, they would have taken on anywhere from $150 million to $250 million in debt. This would be an extremely challenging task considering the city just approved a plan to use at least $200 million in public money to support the NFL stadium downtown.
The Braves are making the move to the suburbs in 2017 for a new, $672 million stadium that will seat 42,000 fans. Part of the reason they decided to make the move was the fact that the Cobb suburb put up $450 million of the funding; Cobb city officials declined to confirm that amount. The move away from Turner Field has been expected though; the team and fans haven’t been happy with the stadium and its location for years now. Turner Field is currently surrounded by some of Atlanta’s poorest neighborhoods that have a median household income of $23,000 and a 40 percent poverty rate. The team’s new stadium will be surrounded by a more prosperous area with a median household income of $61,000 and an 8.6 percent poverty rate. Parking will also be greatly approved with this move by the team.
In it’s lifetime, Turner Field has hosted the 1999 World Series, 2000 All-Star game and four National League Championship Series.