Per our friends at Deadspin, the geniuses in Cobb County are already facing a funding crisis because of a little boondoggle we like to call White Flight Park.
In 2008, the voters of Cobb County agreed to fund the creation of new public parks, to the tune of $40 million dollars. Since that time, the county commissioners have neglected to build the parks that the voters actually voted for, and instead pushed through a sketchy, backdoor deal with the Braves, scraping up money to do so without constituent approval.
Now the head commissioner, the loathsome Tim Lee (he of the secret emails and shady dealings), claims that the citizens of Cobb County will have to be taxed yet again in order to actually pay for the public parks land they officially agreed to way back in 2008, but still does not fully explain where this cash strapped county found $400 million dollars to give to a huge, profitable corporation.
Not to mention that there is still a question about how Braves fans will actually access the stadium – the pedestrian plaza that was supposed to help usher the Atlanta faithful into White Flight Park has been pretty much scrapped, and the pedestrian bridge that crosses the huge interstate highway from one of the few parking areas is still a pipe dream.
And then there’s this fabulous website, obviously a plant, which claims that Cobb County voters and citizens will not have any problems whatsoever from this stadium that they didn’t have a choice in putting in their own backyards. I particularly like this section [emphasis mine]:
Cobb County homeowners will not see their taxes go up one penny, and no money will be diverted from public education or public safety. The bonds being financed to pay for the stadium’s construction will be paid off with revenue currently being used to pay down existing bonds that were taken out to complete countywide green space improvements. Once the green space bonds are paid off, the revenue will used to pay down the stadium bonds. Additional funds needed to pay for the new stadium will be paid by Cobb County businesses and visitors. In addition, no taxpayer dollars will go into the mixed-use development, which will generate millions of new dollars in sales and property tax revenue to the County.
Cobb County businesses are used primarily by Cobb County residents, and are owned by people who probably live in Cobb County. A homeowner’s property tax might not go up but they are being affected regardless. And those green space bonds? Were for PARKS, not for SunTrust Park.
Remember this stadium opens in 2017.