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Opinions are always mixed about the bang for the buck with a new stadium.

But consider the Georgia Dome itself.

On the side facing downtown, the area has boomed with skyscrapers, new development, and a signature skyline known around the world.

But on the other side of the tracks, in Vine City and English Avenue, the boarded up and vacant homes are the images you won't find in a travel brochure.

"The Dome as it sits now has a good impact across Northside Drive on business, hotels, and any kind of tourist attractions," said Jarrett Pitchford, a Vine City resident. "But on this side, the west side of Northside, other than parking, there's no impact whatsoever. Especially when it comes to any kind of infrastructure for the neighborhoods."

Pitchford lives a chip shot away from the Dome, in part of the community that was erased after the big flood ten years ago.

He and other local residents like to hit golf balls in the floodplain/green space that they affectionately call "Vine City National." .They wonder if they're going to be left high and dry if and when a new stadium gets built in the vicinity.

"We need jobs and business opportunities," said community leader Able Mable Thomas. "Even if it's a management training program that can be put in place to make sure the residents can come up and prosper and be able to attend the games."

Thomas, a former state representative now sits on NPU L, which has a lot on its plate.

The NPU sits on the cusp of several huge projects:

The Beltline.

Historic Westside Village.

The Fort McPherson Redevelopment.

The Atlanta Streetcar.

The New Stadium.

And the Multi-Modal Transit Terminal in the section of downtown known as The Gulch.

That's where many believe the new retractable roof stadium would most likely go.

"I think the community is going to be heard in a way that it hasn't been heard before," said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. "Wherever we build the stadium, we are going to do something that is very special, that is impactful, and that is transformational."

Mayor Reed added that he has faith that Falcons owner Arthur Blank will do what he can to help the surrounding communities.

"With the kind of owner we have in Mr. Blank, he is very focused on making sure that the entire community around wherever we build the stadium benefits."

Thomas said the community wants to make sure that when the new stadium is built, the Dome will be torn down. She also said local leaders want a seat at the table where the comprehensive plans are being drawn up.

"What we want to do is be involved as far as leadership participation," she said. "Not just being told what's happening."

Mayor Reed stressed that Atlanta's core business is tourism and that new projects like the stadium are desperately needed to attract the visitors who in turn generate local jobs.

Residents say they want to believe that a new facility for the Falcons will be worth the investment of a billion public and private dollars. But they also want guarantees that their community will share in the investment.

"If they're just throwing money at it, sometimes it's a good idea," said Pitchford. "Sometimes it's not. But if they're going to make a conscious effort to be involved in the community on a more personal and intentional level, I think that could really make an impact."

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