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The Atlanta Braves have decided that Turner Field — which opened in 1997, after being converted from a track and field stadium to a baseball one — is no longer able to fill the franchises needs. On Monday, Nov. 11th the team announced that they are going to be building a new ball park in Cobb County, Ga. near I-75 and I-285.
Atlanta’s current home, Turner Field, was originally built as the track and field stadium for the 1996 summer Olympics. After the Olympics were completed the City of Atlanta spent one year, and it opened as the home of the Braves in April 1997. During their time in Turner, the Braves have been one of the more dominant franchises in Major League Baseball; and Turner Field has hosted National League Division Series (NLDS) seven times, and the National League Championship Series (NLCS) four times.
There have been several cosmetic upgrades that have been made to Turner Field since it opened — a new video board, LED side boards, and a newer Coca-Cola bottle in left field — but there have been no major overhauls to the stadium since its conversion during the fall-winter-spring of 1996-97.
The Atlanta-Fulton Recreation Authority and the City of Atlanta are the owners of Turner Field, and the entities that leased out the facility to the Braves from 1997 to 2016.
That history isn’t going to matter in 2017 when the Braves move into their new home in Cobb County. They are leaving Turner Field because of $150 million in infrastructure work that the ballpark requires to keep it up to date and safe; the issues with connecting Turner Field to the freeway/mass transit systems; a lack of parking; and the fact that the Braves do not have control over the development of the area around Turner Field.
According to the Brave’s press release, they have secured “a large tract of land” upon which they can build a ball park and develop the surrounding area…without cutting down on the available space for parking of course. This new ball park is expected to cost around $672 million, and it will be funded with a mixture of public and private funds (no idea how exactly that is going to work out yet). Outside of that information, there hasn’t been a lot released yet regarding the new ball park, and many of us ballpark snobs are left in disbelief/confusion as to what is really happening.
This announcement was made only four days after the Falcons released an updated design concept for their new stadium — which is going to replace the Georgia Dome, and that opened in 1992.
It will be interesting to see what happens with the Braves new stadium going forward.
Update 8:44 a.m. – On the official website for the new stadium there is a map regarding ticket sales and the location of those who purchased said tickets. The darker the red, the more ticket purchasers in that area; the locations of Turner Field and the new ball park are clearly mapped.
Here is the map: