ATLANTA- (WXIA) Is the proposed new Atlanta Falcons stadium a holdup? That's the view of John Kincade, a sports commentator for ESPN radio and 680 The Fan in Atlanta. He visited 11Alive's morning show Wednesday to talk about the Braves, and was also asked by Ted Hall about the stadium idea.
"I pulled up outside 11Alive today and a man tried to hold me up outside-it was Arthur Blank," Kincade joked. He compared the proposed $948 million cost of the stadium to the original $600 million cost of the International airport terminal at Hartfield-Jackson. That terminal's cost eventually ballooned to over a billion dollars. "If Arthur Blank agreed to cover all cost overruns on the [stadium] project, then I'd be 100 percent on board," Kincade said.
Blank has made no such agreement, and in an April interview with 11Alive, Mayor Reed said he was not prepared to guarantee that the city would be off the hook for any additional costs. He stood behind his earlier statements that the city may have to build the stadium to keep the Falcons in town. No city taxes are currently being used for the stadium's funding.
But Kincade didn't stop at the cost argument Wednesday morning. He said in his opinion, the city should focus their priorities on things like cops and firefighters. The Mayor's office said that was a step too far.
"Mayor Reed has made it clear that public safety is his number one priority," said Reed spokesperson Sonji Jacobs.
She said under Reed's tenure, the city had already hired more than 500 police officers, and is on track to field the largest police force in the city's history. With help from a Federal grant, Jacobs said the city has also hired 75 firefighters.