Mount Vernon church approves $14.5 million deal | News
ATLANTA -- The congregation of Mount Vernon Baptist Church has approved the $14.5 million deal to relocate, making way for the new Falcons stadium.
The crucial vote, which was tallied up 116 in favor of to 16 opposed of, took place Thursday night.
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Shortly after the announcement, Mayor Kasim Reed released a statement about the approval of the deal:
"I am pleased that the congregation of Mt. Vernon Baptist Church was able to vote on this important matter. The decision tonight ensures that the Atlanta Falcons can continue pursuing their goal of building a best-in-class sports facility that will also expand economic development not only in the city, but also in the surrounding neighborhoods. This step forward also will allow this historic church to relocate and continue to serve its congregation and our community."
Mayor Reed also praised the leadership of Reverend Rodney Turner in a tweet.
In a briefing that took place last week, the mayor said no taxpayer money will go toward buying Atlanta churches for the stadium site.
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A City Hall source told 11Alive's Jerry Carnes last week that the city brokered a deal that could lead to the purchase of Mount Vernon Baptist Church.
Mount Vernon Baptist is the second of two churches that sit within the "south site" footprint of the proposed billion-dollar new Atlanta Falcons stadium.
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Funding for the purchase of the church, according to the City Hall source, comes partly from state funds and partly from private sources.
Last month, Atlanta Mayor Kasim announced that the city had reached a deal with Friendship Baptist Church for $19.5 million. Both churches are on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, immediately to the south of the Georgia Dome.
Of the deal, Reed said the Falcons organization and owner Arthur Blank are contributing more than $8 million.
The state, according to Reed is adding $6 million.
Talks with the two churches had previously stalled as negotiations neared a August 1 deadline. The Falcons and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority had announced in late July that they would pursue construction on a site to the north of the Georgia Dome and the World Congress Center along Ivan Allen Boulevard.
The city and the Falcons have expressed an ongoing preference for constructing the stadium on the "south site" -- along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, and very close to both the World Congress Center and Vine City MARTA stations. The north site lies about a half-mile to the north of the Georgia Dome.
The future, Mayor Reed said, is for fans to get on a train, go to a game, then get back on a train to go home. By building the stadium on the south site, that vision would likely be realized.
Current plans for the new stadium call for it to be open during the summer of 2017, in time for the beginning of the 2017 NFL season.