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Neighbors want say in Turner Field plans after Braves leave | News

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Neighbors want say in Turner Field plans after Braves leave
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ATLANTA (WXIA) -- Residents of the neighborhood around Turner Field say they want more options when the Braves leave in 2016. They want developers to compete for the property – and not just hand it over to Georgia State University.

GSU has had the inside track since a year ago, when it unveiled plans to build out the 77 acre site. GSU's plan includes two stadiums – a baseball stadium where Atlanta Fulton County Stadium used to be, and a retrofitted football stadium where Turner Field is now.

"We need something else in that space beside more stadiums," said Kimberly Jones, who is on the board of the Organized Neighbors of Summerhill.

Stadiums have dominated the Summerhill community for a half century. But its proximity to downtown and Grant Park also make it attractive for residential development, residents say. When the Braves vacate Turner Field, community leaders here believe developers will want to compete for the opportunity to turn the property into something else.

"This is such a massively huge opportunity," Jones said. "Who wouldn't want to develop that area? That could make a developer's career."

Jones says the community doesn't want the Georgia State plan to become a fait accompli. The university has pitched a mixed use development with student housing -- and two stadiums on the 77 acre property. Jones says the neighborhood wants the Fulton County Recreation Authority to formally ask other developers to submit proposals.

"We're open to anyone, including GSU as well as other developers," Jones said.

"I'm open to that," said Mayor Kasim Reed, who controls appointments to the majority of the Authority board. Reed has talked up the GSU development for a year. If there are to be other proposals, Reed says he wants them vetted quickly.

"What I'm not going to let happen is for this to be negotiated to death," Reed said. "So there has to be a balance of making sure we have an open and competitive and transparent process, and it coming to an end" in a timely fashion. The Braves are due to vacate Turner Field at the end of the 2016 season.

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