By Carolyn Mathews
Business owners from Kennesaw and the surrounding area have grouped together to show their support for the Braves’ move to Cobb. A vote on the plan was set for the Nov. 26 Cobb County Commission meeting, at 7 p.m. For the outcome of the vote, visit www.ledgernews.com.
John Loud, owner of Loud Security Systems in Kennesaw, told the Ledger-News that he and six other local business owners are advocating for the Braves’ move to Cobb.
They set up a website called cobbhomeofthebraves.com to urge residents to tell the Board of Commissioners they wanted approval of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Major League Baseball team and the BOC. The website offered a chance to win a pair of 2017 inaugural season tickets for those who send a message of support to the commissioners.
The support group also has started a Facebook page and purchased more than 1,000 minutes of TV airtime to promote the passage of the deal with the Braves.
“We’re hoping for a 5-0 vote on Tuesday,” Loud said. “This is going to bring economic development and thriving commerce to Cobb.”
The business owners working with Loud to promote the approval of the MOU are Jay Cunningham with Superior Plumbing, Eric Yonge with EYStudios, Heather Pennington with Day Three Media and Carel Bekker with ClickHOST. They are joined by Paul Letalian of Archer Restoration and Justin O’Dell from the law firm O’Dell and O’Neal, in Marietta.
“This will bring 5,000 construction jobs and 3,000 ongoing ones,” Loud said, noting the dollar amount of the economic development the Braves would bring to the county would be immense.
Loud said a local Barrett Parkway restaurant owner told him if the stadium moves to Cobb, people will come to eat before the game at his restaurant, where now, before a trip to Atlanta, they wouldn’t have the time to do that.
“I predict a joyous celebration, like when Atlanta got the Olympics, to follow the commission’s vote Tuesday night,” he said.
At press time, Cobb Citizens for Governmental Transparency (CGT) had delivered a formal request to the Cobb County Commission on Monday, Nov. 25, at 10:30 a.m., asking it to delay the vote on the Memorandum of Understanding with the Atlanta Braves to build a stadium for a minimum of 60 days. The letter is signed by the Cobb County Southern Christian Leadership Coalition (SCLC), the Georgia Community Coalition, the Partnership for Southern Equity, the Powder Springs Community Task Force, the Atlanta Tea Party Patriots, the Cobb Taxpayers Association, the Cobb Immigrant Alliance, the Madison Forum, the Cobb United for a Change Coalition and the East Cobb Democratic Alliance.
The requested delay, said CGT spokesman Rich Pellegrino, “is in order to give the citizens of Cobb an opportunity to become fully informed regarding all aspects of the proposal.”
The CGT later that day planned to gather in a joint press conference to support other groups and citizens with similar concerns before District 3 Commissioner Joann Birrell’s town hall meeting as well as before District 4 Commissioner Lisa Cupid’s and District 2 Commissioner Bob Ott’s town halls, prior to the Nov. 26 vote.
A website opposing the deal, 300millionreasons.com, has been started, along with a petition at change.org. Loren Collins, an Atlanta attorney who lives in DeKalb County, said“I feel very strongly about public taxpayer funding for sports stadiums. Studies show promises made up front don’t pan out.”
Collins wondered why the deal must be approved Nov. 26 for a project that won’t be finished until 2017.
“I think what you have in these cases every time is a powerful special interest going to local leaders and taking advantage of taxpayers,” Collins said. “This is a violation of the public trust – doubly so because of the secrecy. There’s going to be a final vote with little time for debate.”
Stay tuned to the latest on the county’s potential deal with the Braves at www.ledgernews.com