Atlanta Falcons fans wait outside to enter the Georgia Dome. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, Ga. -- 70,000 or so football fans will converge Sunday on the Georgia Dome for the Falcons game against the Arizona Cardinals. At least some of them will get handed a leaflet from Common Cause, urging them to "raise up" and weigh in on the billion dollar question: Should the Dome be replaced with a new stadium partially funded by hotel motel tax money?
"The debate seems to be going on between the Georgia World Congress Center and the Atlanta Falcons. An important player in that game is left out. And that's the people who fill the dome and and live here around it," said William Perry, executive director of Common Cause Georgia.
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Common Cause has launched a web site to record opinions from the public. The watchdog group has also organized a public forum on the new stadium November 26th -- which will allow the audience a rare chance to question the director of the Georgia World Congress Center, Frank Poe, about the project. Poe declined comment for this story. The forum will be held at the AU center, southwest of the Dome.
"I live in a neighborhood where if you say the word 'stadium,' it immediately brings anxiety," said Ivory Lee Young, Jr., an Atlanta city councilman who represents Vine City, a neighborhood west of the Dome. Young says residents will be very vocal: They want to see some of the construction money spent in the neighborhood.
"The contracts that come out of the one billion dollar stadium will dramatically impact the businesses that are in this community," Young said. He says residents will also want more "holistic" benefits, starting with improvements to public schools.
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