Falcon's President Rich McKay addresses Atlanta City Council
ATLANTA -- Atlanta Falcon's President Rich McKay told a packed Atlanta City Council chamber the team could build its new stadium outside the city limits if a deal isn't struck soon.
His comments came at the first public hearing on a proposed retractable roof stadium to be built near the Georgia Dome. McKay said the Falcons will play in their new stadium, wherever it will be built, by the 2017 season.
McKay said the team is set on staying in Atlanta. If a deal can't be reached they will look to the suburbs for a new home. "We want to give this opportunity every opportunity to succeed and that's been our focus," he said. When asked at what point to you look outside he said "I think probably sooner than later in the sense that we've worked this deal for twelve straight months in trying to get to a final solution."
McKay told the city council it was not a threat and he would not set a deadline for a decision. "I'm not a big deadline guy," he said. "I've negotiated enough player contracts in my life to know that deadlines are usually nice when you first say them, and they sound all great, and then when you have to change them they're not quite as good."
At the public hearing on the proposed billion dollar stadium most of the public dissension came from residents of neighborhoods surrounding the proposed site. They are worried about the impact on some of the poorest parts of the city.
Junelle Thomas said there are parts of her neighborhood that need revitalizing. "If we're going to be a world class city, with a world class stadium, then we need to have a world class quality of life for people who live around the dome," she said.
McKay said the Falcons are giving the city every chance to say yes. He said though it is out of the question that the Falcons will move to another city it is not out of the question they will move outside the city limits.
You can follow Kevin on Twitter @kgrowson