By Tiffany Pennamon, Editorial Intern
The City of Atlanta, headed by Mayor Kasim Reed, has actively been pursuing the land that two historically Black churches hold for the building of the Atlanta Falcons’ new stadium. However, one church has reached a deal while the other has not.
Friendship Baptist Church and Mt. Vernon Baptist Church have been active churches in the Atlanta area for over a century. Friendship Baptist is the founding place of top HBCUs, Spelman College (1881) and Morehouse College (1867). On August 6th, the city and the church reached a $19.5 million deal for purchase of the land. The deal will have to be approved by the church’s congregation of a little more than 450 members.
Mt. Vernon Baptist, located on Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, was offered a deal of $6.2 million dollars, $14 million less than what church officials wanted. The church rejected the offer and negotiations have ceased until further notice. Its members say they are more concerned with worship, prayer, and community service over football.
Mayor Reed stated that Mt. Vernon’s decision is the key factor of whether the south site location becomes available and construction can begin. For now, the north site is still in consideration, however it still has its disadvantages.
The new $1 billion stadium is scheduled to be finished by the 2017 NFL season. It will include a retractable-roof, access to nearby MARTA stations, and will open up jobs for the city.
Read more on the city’s plans for the new stadium here.