Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive demolition is underway near the new stadium site.
ATLANTA -- The challenge is rooted in the anger of residents living near the Georgia Dome.
They say they were blindsided by this month's demolition of a portion of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, which crews are rerouting to make way for the new stadium -- and they say they were sidestepped in community development projects promised for their impoverished neighborhoods.
"This community was promised 24 years ago that our community would be rebuilt. That has not been done," said Rev. William Cottrell.
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Among other things, the challenge argues that the city illegally took control of state hotel motel tax funds which are supposed to be used for the publicly funded portion of the stadium project.
Although the Atlanta Falcons are paying for the vast majority of the $1.1 billion project, the tax money is an essential part of the agreement struck by the state, the city and the Falcons.
The court hearing was supposed to be a routine review of the construction bonds backed by tax money. But a judge delayed it after five nearby residents objected.
"This is a process that could put it to a stop. And I think a lot of people want that to happen," said William Perry, executive director of Common Cause Georgia. Perry unsuccessfully led a petition drive to put the stadium question before voters.
But as the demolition of MLK Drive shows, it is a project that is already underway. Official groundbreaking takes place in April -- roughly the same time as the next court hearing.
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