Loading...
 

The long process to determine Turner Field's future - or at least what the community wants to see - has begun

Casinos? Urban farms? Grocery stores? How about robots?

A process that will take six or seven months and end with a big document showing what residents want out of their four neighborhoods started Thursday night in a failed arcade and putt-putt complex across from Turner Field.
?
? That is, the first public meeting of the Turner Field Stadium Neighborhoods Livable Centers Initiative study. More than 200 residents from Pittsburgh, Mechanicsville, Peoplestown, and Summerhill packed FanPlex the wildly unsuccessful monument to things-government-shouldn't-do, to start telling the city and future developers what they want built, fixed, improved, or installed in their neighborhoods.
?
? What makes this LCI different from others conducted throughout metro Atlanta is that includes the acreage where Turner Field and its parking lots sit now and the future site of a huge development of some kind after the Atlanta Braves leave next year. The Atlanta Regional Commission, the city, Invest Atlanta, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation are funding the effort.
?
? “I’m glad to see so many council members out,” said Yasin Ofunmuyiwa Efundele, looking over the public officials amid the rest of the crowd. She’s been working with the Turner Field Community Benefits Coalition to drum up neighborhood interest in the study. Efundele wants to make sure residents realize the LCI doesn’t just cover Turner Field, but an area more than a mile and a half across. It’s bounded, roughly, by Metropolitan Parkway, Interstate 20, Hill Street and the Beltline.
?
? “Don’t think just in terms of Turner Field,” Efundele said.
?
????
? The Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority, the city-county body that manages Turner Field, is currently reviewing the proposals. Three would-be buyers — Georgia State University and Carter's joint venture, the Mercury Youth Organization, and a mysterious organization reportedly called “Rita World Pearl Kingdom, LLC — have submitted bids. 
?
? Perkins + Will, the firm that won the contract to lead the study, explained the process and timeline to residents. The firm rolled out exhibits at the meeting meant to creatively extract peoples’ opinions: maps, documents, even a little video studio where people can mark up, write down and say what they want to see.
?
? Pittsburgh resident Steven Ezell, who browsed the exhibits after the meeting, said he would like to see a casino on the Turner Field site, calling it “the most comprehensive answer for the needs in this area." The gaming complex would bring jobs, investment, and help fund HOPE Scholarships and Grants. Besides that, Ezell said, it would attract tourists and be fun. “Atlanta is boring,” he said.
?
? Mayor Kasim Reed has been relatively cool toward gaming. At previous public meetings, he’s been shouted at by people who want him to know they really, really do not want a casino on the site. GSU and MYO's bids are not believed to involve gaming and two big casino firms have disavowed any connection to Rita World Pearl Kingdom. 
?
?At one exhibit, people could write as much about their neighborhood vision as can fit on a postcard. One wanted a town center with karaoke and bowling. Some others want shopping and green space.
?
? Also on display were maps of Turner Field made available at the Museum of Design where residents and museum visitors could draw their ideas. Some drew fountains, water parks, dinosaurs, and robots. (Kids are allowed to participate.) Residents suggested grocery stores, dining, and community gardens more than once. Others talked about housing and making sure the area doesn’t become so fancy that it’s unaffordable.
?
? Atlanta Planning Commissioner Tim Keane told the crowd that’s a common theme he and others are hearing. The public wants “to make sure displacement doesn’t occur,” he said.
?
? Area residents demanded that AFCRA require any winning bidder to pay attention to the LCI results. Indeed, AFCRA’s bid documents say the winning bidder should demonstrate a commitment to incorporating LCI recommendations, where feasible.



More By This Writer

Article

Thursday January 5, 2017 02:27 am EST
The Atlanta City Council's biggest affordable housing advocate must Satisfy activists, developers, and residents | more...

Article

Thursday January 5, 2017 02:27 am EST
The City Hall official is eagle-eyeing a $550 million overhaul of Atlanta's streets | more...

Article

Tuesday December 27, 2016 09:49 pm EST
Measures could make it easier to tackle dilapidated homes | more...

Article

Wednesday December 21, 2016 06:48 pm EST
In latest chapter of ongoing dispute with city, controversial homeless shelter calls on mayor to provide protection | more...

Article

Friday December 16, 2016 06:13 pm EST
State will loosen access to a life-saving - but still expensive - overdose reversal drug | more...
Search for more by Maggie Lee

[Admin link: The long process to determine Turner Field's future - or at least what the community wants to see - has begun]

Spider for The long process to determine Turner Field's future - or at least what the community wants to see - has begun