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Turner Field neighbors fear "ghost town" if Braves leave

7:54 PM, Nov 11, 2013   |    comments
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Turner Field (AP file)

ATLANTA-- "If the Braves leave, we don't want to be left behind with a ghost town here," said Feroza Syed, an activist in the community surrounding Turner Field.

Although the neighborhood upgraded over the last two decades, it still has far too many abandoned houses, far too many idle men on its streets-and has never lived up to the potential its backers have always talked up.

Now its economic engine appears headed to the suburbs-along with that potential. The Braves say their new Cobb County stadium will include a mixed-use development package.

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"Southeast Atlanta was looking for this re-development. This was going to be the crown jewel," said Suzanne Mitchell of the Organized Neighbors of Summerhill. "And we're now going to be back to where we were since 1960, with an abandoned building in a neighborhood that could potentially be forgotten again."

Mayor Kasim Reed's office released a statement Monday, saying the Braves got a $450 million incentive package to move to Cobb County.  "We are simply unwilling to match that with taxpayer dollars," Reed's statement said.  The statement said Reed's office has "already spoken to multiple organizations who are interested in redeveloping the entire Turner Field corridor."

Braves officials they told the mayor Thursday that the Braves would be moving.

"I just hope that it's not a done deal," said state Rep. Margaret Kaiser (D-Atlanta), who represents the Turner Field area. She said she hopes "some of us, as policy makers, can sit at the table and say, 'what can we do to make you stay?'"

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