ATLANTA -- The debate over whether or not the Falcons should build a new open-air stadium hasn't been confined to boardrooms and executive offices. Many have been talking about it at tailgates and football watch parties. But activist group Common Cause Georgia says those in charge of the major decisions haven't yet heard from the public.
"We're talking about a state entity, a state agency that is negotiating here without a whole lot of public input," said William Perry, the group's Executive Director.
The plans call for a new billion-dollar stadium, of which approximately $350 million would be paid by hotel/motel tax dollars. Perry and several other volunteers handed out thousands of fliers before and after Sunday's Falcons game. They were directing fans to a website where they could voice their opinion on the idea of a new stadium.
Several fans tailgating Sunday said they liked the ome as it is. Tom Dunn, a season ticket holder since the 70s who hasn't missed a single game all year, said he agreed the fans need to be consulted.
"I think the fans, the people who actually foot the bills, are totally left out of it," Dunn said of the debate so far. "I think if you talk to people out here going to the games, 90% of them are on my side of the boat."
Dunn said a troubled economy is the wrong time to invest in a new stadium. One of the friends at his tailgate said it was the perfect time-the local economy needs a boost.
"I've been living in Atlanta a long time, I love this city and I'm positive on anything I think is going to help us make continued growth," said David Scott. "It could really change this part of town, and really give us a state of the art athletic facility."
Scott said the fact that the taxpayer dollars come from tourism revenue made it a better idea. Dunn said that money could go to other local necessities.
Common Cause is encouraging citizens to attend a public forum on the stadium concept at 7 p.m. on Nov. 26 at Morehouse College.