The Atlanta Falcons are investing even more money for a new retractable stadium in Atlanta.
Mayor Kasim Reed announced Friday that team owner Arthur Blank has agreed to put up the additional $8.3 million to purchase Mount Vernon Baptist, one of two churches located on the coveted south site for the stadium.
The Georgia World Congress Center Authority had already offered to pay $6.2 million, the highest it could offer based on a state law that will not allow it to go over the appraised value.
That brings the total purchase price for Mount Vernon to $14.5 million, $1 million less than the church's last asking price.
"What I didn't want to do was to have an amount like $8 million or $9 million prevent what I believe and what the Falcons believe is the most sustainable and long term solution," says Reed.
The Falcons had already agreed to fund the entire purchase of Friendship Baptist Church for $19.5 million.
Leaders from both churches joined Reed for the announcement. Their congregations will have the final say with a vote is set for Mount Vernon Sept. 19 and at Friendship Baptist next weekend.
"Additional money does not decide the outcome," says Rev. Rodney Turner, pastor at Mount Vernon. "We've been in prayer; we're a church, not a business."
Reed says if neither church agrees to their deals, he vows to stand with the Falcons to support the alternate north site and not revisit the issue of the south site again.