Local leaders won't give up on deal to keep Braves downtown - New York News

Local leaders won't give up on deal to keep Braves downtown

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ATLANTA -

The Cobb County Commission approved a deal Tuesday night to move the Braves to Cobb County, but Atlanta leaders aren't giving up.  Local officials met privately on Wednesday to brainstorm on ways to keep the team in downtown instead.

Local officials say it's smart to be ready to make that counter offer if the Cobb County deal should run into stumbling blocks.  

"They've only signed a memorandum of understanding" explained Atlanta City Councilmember Michael Bond.  "This is basically an agreement to agree to move forward.  They still have a lot of work in Cobb County to do."

Bond, along with Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves and a few others are discussing how a counter offer should be shaped in the event the Braves are not able to complete the Cobb deal.  Among the what-ifs is funding that paid for Philips Arena construction.  It comes from a rental car tax, and they say that could be redirected for Turner Field renovations.  

"It could," said Eaves.  There has been some outreach to at least the mayor of College Park, who has expressed an openness.  We could also have allocated funds to the tax allocation district of around the stadium, and so Fulton County, the city of Atlanta have earmarked millions of dollars."

Councilman Bond says that Cobb's deal is far from being solid.  

"They've agreed to move forward, but they still have to look at the infrastructure," Bond explained.  "They still have to look at the highway construction.  They still have to look at the impact, the environmental impact, on that area.  The infrastructure could end up almost in the $100 million range.  I don't know if the taxpayers of Cobb County are ready for that part of the deal."

One very big name was missing from this story—Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.  These discussions are very early in terms of what the locals are trying to do.  If it goes anywhere, Mayor Reed will have to be involved because he is the one who can negotiate with the Braves.  City councilmembers cannot.  

Those local leaders say they will have another meeting soon to craft a counter offer to submit to the Braves.

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