|Lucas Oil Stadium|
Let begin the week with an apology for the shortage of posts last week. Blogger had to take off a chunk of time for personal reasons but it is a new week, which means fresh posts. Starting off the week is a look at how Black communities, wrecked by publicly funded stadiums scams are fighting back.
Sports stadiums are glamourous revenue generating assets to their host cities. Anna Simonton writes in her article for Alternet, "Black Communities Destroyed By Publicly Funded Stadium Swindles Are Fighting Back In A New Era Of Development, "Since the early twentieth century taxpayers have footed the bill for private development in the form of sports stadiums, arena, and other mega-event facilities." Specifically, according to the sports news website http://www.deadspin.com, 61 percent of the billions of dollars spent stadium construction between 1909 and 2012 came from public coffers. That is is huge chunk of public money going towards facilities that largely remain empty throughout most of the year.
|Toby Sexton Tires|
Mechanicsville, Atlanta, Georgia
The residents took care of each other in Mechanicsville, a community established by railroad workers, south of downtown Atlanta, following the Civil War. One of the reasons they were tightly knit was they barely had a reason to leave. Mechanicsville had numerous stores, libraries, schools, a hospital, a movie theater, and many other imaginable amenities. However, When the Braves came, all that changed, according to Ms. Samuels.
|Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium|
Summerhill, Atlanta, Georgia
|Georgia World Congress Center|
|Martin Luther King and Coretta King walking through Vine City|
|Centennial Olympic Stadium|
Like Ms. Samuels and Mr. Heard, Mr. Ward has lived most of his life in the neighborhoods around the stadium. A'NUFF was able to save a school and a hospice from the wrecking ball and force the city into an agreement to repair the sewer systems and using local labor. The new $207 million stadium was paid for entirely from private Olympic funds, however, an additional $30 million in capital improvements required for the projects were drawn from federal and city funds. Further, the City of Atlanta agreed to pay for future construction and maintenance costs that could total $60 million.
This is something that Doristine Samuels is all too familiar with having worked twenty years as a security guard at Turner Field. For nearly twenty years she does not earn a living wage nor does she receive any benefits. What does twenty years of being on the job get her...free parking. Yours truly knows what you all are thinking: no living wage, no benefits, no retirement plan, and no paid vacation?! Just free parking?! Insane, right? Of course, if Ms. Samuels earns a good review from a secret shopper, she have her picture taken with a baseball player. Like Ms. Samuels, yours truly would rather have the bonuses.
|Proposed new Georgia Dome|
|Morris Brown College|
|Map of Georgia highlighting Cobb County|
Anna Simonton spoke with Georgia Institute of Technology urban studies professor Larry Keating to get his thoughts on the insanely repetitious cycle of development by destruction. Prof. Keating credited it to , "...generations of elected officials submitting to corporate control, with little to no consideration for the lives of working and middle class people. Specifically, In Prof. Keating's 2001 book Atlanta: Race, Class, and Urban Expansion, he writes,
Almost all the important policy decisions that have guided the city over the past several decades have been made not by government itself but by small groups of men-sometimes just two men-in private meetings...What planning the government elite has engaged in has been ad hoc and superficial. City leaders have generally been reluctant to give careful consideration to the broader effects...
Columbus Ward adds, This stuff has been going on for fifty years and it's meant the destruction of low-income, African American neighborhoods in this city. You'd think by now they would would want to do it right especially with all the Black we've had.
|Rendering of proposed Turner Field development|
|Rendering of proposed Inglewood Stadium|
Yours truly would highly recommend you click on the article link at the top of the post and check out the citations used by Anna Simonton's well done article. This is a subject that has implications for other down-market cities looking to entice a sports franchise to come to their city or keep the one they have now.