Atlanta City Council questions Falcons officials on new stadium

Atlanta City Council questions Falcons officials on new stadium

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ATLANTA -

Atlanta City Council members grilled Falcons team officials on Wednesday about a proposal that would involve using public funds for a new stadium.

Speaking for team owner Arthur Blank, Falcons President Rick McKay said that the club needs to play in a new stadium in 2017.  

The Falcons are asking the Atlanta City Council to approve $200 million in public funding as part of a billion dollar deal.

The possible deal would require $200 million in public funds, while the Falcons would put in $800 million plus at least another $50 million to retire leftover debt on the Georgia Dome, which would be torn down.

McKay said that the team is offering the city a good deal by picking up the majority of the cost.

Felicia Moore, the chair of the council finance committee, asked McKay if he felt that the stadium was needed.

"You have to look at it as a need, only in one sense that we, we didn't see ourselves being in a position to execute an extension of our lease…in a renovated situation," McKay said.

Planners say that the Georgia Dome is need of renovations which could cost hundreds millions of dollars.

One council member brought up a comparison between the Falcons and Dallas Cowboys, who the council member said paid for that team's new billion-dollar "Jerry World" stadium with his own money.  However, planners said that $325 million of that stadium was paid for with public funds – an action approved by voters.

McKay said that the team is committed to doing everything it can to keep the team in the downtown Atlanta area.

Team officials have previously said that if a deal cannot be reached, they will consider other areas outside the city. On Tuesday, FOX 5 reported that Doraville's mayor rejected the idea of the team moving into that community.

Last week, residents and business leaders got to hear from Falcons' officials on what's being proposed.

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