Our network

Stadium work in high gear as court hears Cobb challenge | News

Title (Max 100 Characters)

Stadium work in high gear as court hears Cobb challenge
Stadium work in high gear as court hears Cobb challenge

ATLANTA-- By going full-tilt with their stadium construction project in Cobb County, the Atlanta Braves are taking a bit of a gamble. They're betting that the state Supreme Court will approve Cobb County's plan to issue taxpayer-backed bonds to to pay for nearly half the stadium costs-- despite a challenge from three Cobb County residents

"And the county has no business to engage in private commercial enterprise which is what SunTrust Park is," said Tucker Hobgood during oral arguments before the court Tuesday.

Like the Braves, the Atlanta Falcons are also gambling the Supreme Court will approve the government funding of a portion of their stadium. Construction of their new stadium project is also well underway. There are some key differences.

The Braves are expecting Cobb taxpayers to pay about 45 percent of the construction cost -- paid by bonds financed through the county treasury.

By contrast, the Falcons expect government bonds to pay fourteen percent of their $1.4 billion stadium -- financed through a hotel motel tax fund that currently pays for the soon-to-be demolished Georgia Dome.

It means the Braves have much more at stake in the Supreme Court.

Tuesday, Cobb County's attorney argued that Cobb can legitimately fund the stadium as a county recreation site.

"We submit that attending the national pastime, going to baseball game, is quintessentially a form of recreation in this country," said Tom Curvin, attorney representing the county and its recreation authority.

The Supreme Court will likely rule on funding for both stadiums this spring – by which time the two teams will have already gambled hundreds of millions of dollars in construction costs.