Those threats that the Atlanta Falcons might move to a new stadium in the suburbs if they can’t get one built in Atlanta aren’t entirely made up out of whole cloth: Elected officials in both Clayton County (that’s the to south) and Cobb County (that’s to the west) have expressed interest in providing land for a Falcons stadium if they choose to leave Atlanta:
Clayton County Commission Chairman Jeff Turner said Tuesday the county has prime land near Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport that is ripe for development and could be a great place for the stadium. “We want to make sure they know we’re interested,” Turner said. “If they can’t work out a deal in Atlanta, Clayton is interested in entering into discussions in how we can bring the stadium to Clayton County.”
Note that that’s only land, though, not actual money. As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes, “If Clayton were to offer financial support, its offerings could be limited,” given that it doesn’t have Atlanta’s hotels or tourism business to raise taxes to pay for a stadium. As for Cobb County, I happen to know from recent experience that it has bigger fish to fry, with a 16% unemployment rate following the double whammy of the economic crash and devastating floods in 2009 that wiped out 600 homes and businesses.
And, of course, even if a burbdome were realistic, there’s still the question of whether Atlantans wouldn’t be better off letting the team move to the next town over if it meant they could keep their $300 million. Here’s hoping that question gets at least raised at the next city council hearing, which is — whoa, tonight.