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Clayton Co. pitches alternate Falcons stadium site | News

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Clayton Co. pitches alternate Falcons stadium site

ATLANTA, Ga. -- It's not a competition. Jeff Turner says his proposal is an alternative, not a competitor. But the Atlanta Falcons would be welcome at a stadium site outside downtown Atlanta, if they need one.

"And why not come to Clayton County?" asks Jeff Turner, chairman of the board of commissioners in the county that sits directly south of Atlanta.

The site Turner touts is alongside US 41 / Dixie Highway, just south of the Fulton County line, a stark 150 mostly-undeveloped acres inside the I-285 perimeter. It's long on history; there are four markers commemorating Civil War events there. But there's not a whole lot else.

"It's been used as a dumping ground, pretty much," Turner said. "A lot of space, a lot of unoccupied land."  Turner says much of the property is county owned.

The Atlanta City Council has been holding hearings on whether the city will back construction bonds, funded by state hotel-motel tax money, to fund a portion of a new retractable-roof stadium to replace the Georgia Dome. 

The Falcons want to pay for 80% of the cost, with hotel-motel tax money covering the remainder-- plus city infrastructure costs. If they city doesn't agree, the Falcons have said they would consider funding construction of an open-air stadium somewhere outside of downtown Atlanta.

Turner says the site is easily accessible from Interstates 75, 85, 285 and 675. It's a short drive from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.  Descending airliners soared frequently over the site during a recent visit.

"If talks break down" in Atlanta, Turner says, "why not Clayton County?"