As the Falcons get closer to a new stadium, one wonders how this deal will economically develop Vine City, English Avenue, or Castleberry Hill? According to an article in The Atlanta Journal Constitution, 132 members of Mount Vernon Baptist Church voted on whether to accept a $14.5 million offer from the State of Georgia and the Atlanta Falcons to vacate their property, One hundred sixteen church members voted yes.
The neighborhoods surrounding the proposed site are supposed to receive an additional $15 million in economic development funds from the city’s Westside Tax Allocation District (which is funded by property taxes). The Arthur Blank Foundation was reportedly ready to throw in another $15 million.
I drive through Castleberry at least once a week with my son mostly because we enjoy checking out how that are has been developing. We have observed art galleries, loft apartments, and an organic grocery store. In addition, Kollective South, a new tech co-working center, will open this fall in Castleberry Hill.
English Avenue is the complete opposite. I drive through that neighborhood on rare occasion and never with my 11-year old son. The neighborhood defines blithe. Boarded up houses, men hanging out on corners, and a cop car strategically stationed in a church parking lot to act as a scarecrow against would-be thieves and gang-bangers.
Will these neighborhoods benefit from $15 to $30 million in stimulus? Castleberry may see some marginal benefit since a commercial infrastructure is in place, but I don’t see the same thing for English Avenue. That area needs sustainability. A one time shot of funding won’t do it. We all saw how the Obama stimulus plan fizzled out and I would suspect the same thing for English Avenue.
Will these neighborhoods see any more development after 2017 when the new stadium goes up? Doubt it.