H 60° L 38°
  • cloudy-day
    Current Conditions
    Sunny. H 60° L 38°
  • clear-day
    Sunny. H 60° L 38°
  • clear-night
    Clear. H 63° L 43°

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00


Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00


Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

City, Falcons strike new downtown stadium deal

City, Falcons strike new downtown stadium deal

City, Falcons strike new downtown stadium deal

City, Falcons strike new downtown stadium deal

Channel 2's Dave Huddleston, Zach Klein, Wendy Corona, Carl Willis and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this story

The Atlanta Falcons and the City of Atlanta have come to an agreement on key aspects of a deal to build a new home for the NFL franchise.

Talks of building a new retractable-roof stadium in downtown Atlanta to replace the Georgia Dome have been going on for months, but Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Falcons owner Arthur Blank announced a deal to move forward during a Thursday afternoon news conference.

The Falcons agreed to pay an additional $50 million for infrastructure around the stadium, and the Blank foundation also agreed to pay $15 million for improvements in the surrounding neighborhoods. Invest Atlanta will also pay $15 million for improvements in surrounding neighborhoods using Tax Allocation District funds.

The terms announced Thursday also call for an equal opportunity plan that will ensure at least 31 percent participation in design and construction by women and minority business enterprises.

“Equally important, a new stadium will lead to the creation of well-paying jobs during its construction at a time when many of our friends and neighbors are seeking employment,” Reed said. “This new stadium will also keep the city of Atlanta at the forefront of the hospitality industry in America as we pursue our goal of attracting 40 million visitors annually. It will strengthen the viability of the more than 200,000 jobs that support our tourism and convention business every single day.”

Various aspects of a deal will ultimately require approvals from the Atlanta City Council, GWCCA board, Invest Atlanta and the Fulton County Commission.

The maximum public contribution for the project is $200 million, which will come from the hotel-motel tax collected in Atlanta and unincorporated Fulton County.

The remainder of the funding for the $1 billion stadium will come from the Falcons and other sources.

“We appreciate the mayor and his staff’s diligence in moving the agreements for a new stadium toward completion,” Blank said in a statement today. “We are grateful to the members of the Atlanta City Council who have given us the opportunity to address their questions or concerns, and we will continue to work with the mayor, city council, Invest Atlanta and our partners at the Georgia World Congress Center in reaching final agreements.”

The announcement does not mean a final deal has been made with all parties involved. The Falcons and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority continue to negotiate terms of a binding legal document that would outline the deal.


New stadium expected to attract big sporting events

The new stadium won't just benefit the Falcons, but will help keep and attract other major events to Atlanta.

NCAA president Mark Emmert was recently in Atlanta and told Channel 2 Sport Director Zach Klein while the Georgia Dome is sufficient this year to host the Final 4, a new stadium would clearly be advantageous in luring future marquee events to town.

The main tenant of the stadium is the Falcons and a source close to the team told Klein that the new stadium will keep the franchise in Atlanta for at least the next 30 years.

As for other events, the current SEC championship game contract runs through 2017, the same year the new stadium is expected to be completed.

The city, state, officials with the Chick-Fil-A Bowl and the Atlanta Sports Council will all work together in an attempt to bring college football's Final 4 and national championship game to town.

Sources close to that process told Klein the new stadium will be a huge part of their proposal.

Atlanta is a few weeks away from hosting the 75th annual men's Final 4 and according to the NCAA and the Atlanta local organizing committee, the impact from that weekend alone should be around $44 million to the local economy.



Neighbors excited yet skeptical over stadium

Neighbors who live across from the current Georgia Dome were not only excited about the prospect of a new stadium but also the millions promised for their community.

When it gets down to it though, residents told Channel 2's Wendy Corona that they are still very skeptical.

"I don't think that we're going to see half that money come," neighbor Tajiana Hampton said.

Hampton lives in the shadow of the Georgia Dome where vacant lots and boarded-up homes are sprinkled amongst some new development.

Filling the voids with development is something Hampton would like to see more of.

"I'd like to see that come to the neighborhood so people over here have more opportunities with the community," Hampton said.

With talks Thursday of an injection of $45 million to the neighboring area, the talk on the streets is very guarded.

"That's a nice start. Of course I'd like to see that come to the community, but of course we both know that all that is not going to the community," Hampton told Corona.

No one seems to be getting their hopes up. A lifelong Vine City resident, who goes by Buddy, told Corona the investment needs to be geared toward the children in the area.

"It'd make a whole lot of difference. Kids would have somewhere to go and play instead of just running up and down these streets out here," Buddy said.

The common cry among neighbors was the community needs the money.

Other residents Corona spoke with mentioned the money could be used to put so many of the unemployed residents back to work.

They said the people are there, but the money is not.



Opponents not happy with stadium announcement

Opponents of the new stadium told Channel 2 Action News they're not pleased with Thursday's developments. They said the public has been ignored throughout the process.

Channel 2's Carl Willis talked to one of the most outspoken critics of the new stadium, William Perry, with watchdog group Common Cause Georgia.

"The top line always sounds good, but the bottom line is the public continues to be shut out. We're talking about a great deal of public funding and we believe the public deserves a seat at the table," Perry told Willis.

Perry questions if the public contribution, coming from a hotel/motel tax collection, will in fact be capped at $200 million.

Regardless, he said the public should have had the chance to vote on the deal.

"There were billion-dollar stadiums built in Dallas and in San Francisco. Both of those cities held referendums for the public to vote on their portion of the payment. That ought to happen in Atlanta as well," Perry said.

State Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, is also expressing his skepticism, saying the actual cost of the stadium is unknown.

"We don't know specifically just how much it's going to cost nearby infrastructure, roads, sewers, sidewalks. (It's the) $64,000 question. Unless we know how much it's going to cost and how it's going to be paid for, we don't know the real cost to citizens of the city of Atlanta is," Fort said.

Perry said the public dollars should be used for other needs within the city.

"This city, according to the mayor, has $922 million in infrastructure backlog repairs. Certainly, $300 million from the hotel/motel tax could go a long way in cutting down that backlog," Perry said.

Perry doubts whether area communities will truly see a benefit.

"There was a lot of boom that was supposed to happen for Vine City when the Georgia Dome was built and I think those folks were left holding the bag and still waiting for the big dream to come and it never came," Perry said.

Despite the breakdown Fort gave, he said for this process to be transparent, the city must tell Atlantans exactly what the improvements to sidewalks, sewers and roads will cost taxpayers.

Read More


  • Atlanta police have been handing out the flyers across the city telling people that a permit is needed to give food to the homeless. The fliers are being used as a warning to those trying to help the homeless. Channel 2’s Justin Wilfon found one group who received more than a warning. Instead of getting praise for helping Atlanta’s homeless, Adele Maclean and Marlon Kautz say they’re getting punished for it. “We’re looking at a citation,” Maclean said. Channel 2 Action News’ cameras were there when police wrote the pair a ticket for handing out food to the homeless without a permit. “I mean outrageous, right? Of all the things to be punished for, giving free food to people who are hungry?” Maclean told Wilfon. TRENDING STORIES: Worker killed after woman drives onto sidewalk on busy road, police say There's a Christmas tree shortage in metro Atlanta Arrests made in violent robberies of Asian-owned businesses The pair said they give food to the homeless every Sunday in Atlanta’s Woodruff Park, and have never heard of needing a permit. “It seems ridiculous to me that they would be spending their time and resources on stopping people from feeding the homeless,” said Maclean said. Wilfon contacted the city to find out what was going on. A city representative said the Fulton and DeKalb County boards of health both require permits to give food to the homeless and the city of Atlanta enforces those requirements. While the requirements aren’t new, Atlanta police told Wilfon they recently started more strictly enforcing them for several reasons. The city believes there are better ways to help the homeless, like getting them into programs and shelters. They are also taking issue with the litter the food distributions leave behind. Ben Parks, who runs a nonprofit for the homeless, told Wilfon he can see the argument from both sides. “I understand where the city’s coming from. I understand when they see groups come in and leave a bunch of trash behind,' Parks said. While this ordinance is also on the books in DeKalb County, DeKalb police told Wilfon Wednesday that they are not using police to enforce it. They’re leaving that up to the health department.
  • A candidate for mayor says she has always wondered if the current mayor of Atlanta won his seat fair and square. Mary Norwood lost to current Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed in 2009. Make sure to tune in to WSB-TV as Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood go head-to-head in a live runoff debate moderated by Channel 2’s Justin Farmer, LIVE on Sunday, Dec. 3 at 5 p.m.  Norwood told Channel 2’s Dave Huddleston that she never spoke publicly about the accusation because what she said she knew what happened wasn't significant enough to upset the entire system.  [WATCH: Keisha Lance Bottoms speaks on Channel 2 Action News This Morning] But our partners at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution got a copy of a transcript of a private June meeting where she brought up the 2009 election.  'I just want you to be who you say you are, live where you say you live and vote once,' Norwood told Huddleston.  [WATCH: Mary Norwood speaks on Channel 2 Action News This Morning] Norwood raised concerns about the 2009 election, which she lost to Reed by a couple of hundred votes.  TRENDING STORIES: Worker killed after woman drives onto sidewalk on busy road, police say There's a Christmas tree shortage in metro Atlanta Arrests made in violent robberies of Asian-owned businesses She told Huddleston that she always suspected there was voter fraud.  'I know there are instances where individuals were asked to vote in the election,' Norwood said.  She said individuals who didn’t live in Atlanta still voted in the mayor's race.   [SPECIAL SECTION: The Atlanta Mayor’s Race] Norwood said she's never talked publicly about the accusation, but privately has mentioned it to several groups, including last June, at a meeting that was recorded and leaked to the AJC. 'I have spoken privately to many groups, including last night to the NAACP, about the fact that I did not go public with some things I was concerned about with that election,' Norwood said.  ATLANTA MAYOR QUICK FACTS The city’s last five mayors have been African-American The last 27 have been Democrats There have only ever been two Republican mayors of Atlanta Shirley Franklin was the first female mayor of Atlanta. The next mayor will be the second Only four former Atlanta mayors were born in Atlanta Click here for more facts about Atlanta mayors Huddleston contacted Reed for a comment on this story Wednesday. His spokesperson responded and said in part: “If Mary Norwood had proof that the election results were invalid in 2009, she should have stepped forward and challenged the results then. She did not because she could not. She has no evidence to back up her claims. She has been a public official for the past four years and never raised any concerns about the integrity of our voting system.' Norwood said after the 2009 race, she joined the Fulton County Elections Board to get a new director on staff.  She told Huddleston that she's confident the Dec. 5 mayor's race will be fair, accurate and impartial.
  • A local family's effort to help the less fortunate during Thanksgiving is growing so large, they needed two trailers to deliver it. Ron Mowen's family started handing out goods for the homeless five years ago after they realized there was a problem in downtown Atlanta. Since then, it's become a family affair to help others. Hundreds of homeless men and women, even some with children, congregated at Pryor and Memorial to get items for personal comfort this Thanksgiving.   TRENDING STORIES: Woman missing after traveling to daughter's home for Thanksgiving Thousands in need get free holiday feast thanks to volunteers Man fixing tire at gas station killed on Thanksgiving morning “The ground gets cold, so at night you kinda need something,” said Nate Akers, who’s been homeless for 10 years and lives under a highway bridge nearby. He came out to grab some clothes for both him and the other people who camp out beside him.  “I’m receiving a blessing,” he told Channel 2's Nefertiti Jaquez. He isn’t the only person who feels like they received a blessing this holiday. Cherry Hall, who’s a Lyft driver and has been homeless on and off since 2005, was also grateful.  'It makes you smile and feel better. I think they’re great, god loving people,” she said.  Mowen's family recruited their closest friends to help them help others with two trailers full of goods. “Anything we can do to make them feel comfortable. The folks out here just need a little help,” he said. “We do a lot of blankets, sleeping bags, coats, clothing, thermal underwear.”  They spent the day dedicated to sharing time with family, helping those who are less fortunate. In the process, their hope is that their young children learn a lesson in giving back. 'I want to install values in my children in hopes that they realize not everybody has it as well off as they do,' he said. The family told Jaquez they want to come back and host the same event for Christmas but need your help. If you'd like to donate to help them raise money for supplies, click here.  
  • A week ago, Melissa Horstman's Worcester, Massachusetts, home was invaded by burglars who smashed the glass on her sliding door and took nearly $3,000 in valuables and cash.  >> Read more trending news Shortly after 9 p.m. last Thursday night, the thieves broke into her home and not only stole the money Horstman was saving for her dog's operation but left her sick pup Prince in a heap of glass. Foreboding as he may look, Prince has bone cancer on his back leg and can barely move. Not only is Prince on heavy painkillers, but his leg will need to be amputated, and Horstman believes his condition is worsening. 'I'm just lucky they didn't kill my dog,' Horstman said.  Horstman says that after Boston 25 News interviewed her last Monday, one of her friends created an online fundraising page for Prince with the goal of raising $5,000 - the amount needed for his surgery. However, to her surprise, the overwhelming generosity of those who contributed to the fundraiser help not only reach the goal but exceed far past just $5,000 . 'It is very close to $20,000 right now,' Horstman said. Initially, when Horstman posted about the burglary on Facebook, her mind was set on trying to catch those responsible for the theft. She says she didn't ask for a dime, but is immensely thankful for those who helped. Prince will have surgery Tuesday and hopefully feel a lot better. As for the rest of the money, Horstman plans on giving it to other pet owners who need it just as much as she did. 'I've decided to make some donations to Broken Tail Rescue that are here local in Worcester and possibly another rescue depending on how much is left over from Prince's surgery,' Horstman said. After our initial story on the burglary aired, Horstman said police told her this may be related to other recent burglaries. She is anxiously awaiting word of an arrest. Horstman is urging people who want to help to give back to local animal shelters. She has since asked her friend to shut down the fundraising page. 
  • A fund set up to raise money for a homeless man who helped a woman when her car ran out of gas in Philadelphia has collected more than $280,000. The GoFundMe campaign was started by Bordentown, New Jersey, resident Kate McClure this month after she was stuck along Interstate 95 and Johnny Bobbitt Jr. bought her some gas with his last $20.McClure says she didn't have money to pay him back but she returned to his spot several times in the following days to give him cash, clothes and food. She says she then started the fundraiser hoping to collect $10,000 to cover housing and other expenses for him.McClure says she wishes she 'could do more for this selfless man.'Donations had poured in from about 10,000 people by Thursday.
  • An 86-year-old Philadelphia woman allegedly pushed her walker into a bank Tuesday afternoon and attempted to rob it. >> Read more trending news Bank employees told police the woman, identified as Emily Coakley, brandished a gun and demanded $400, CBS Philly reported. It didn’t take long for the police to arrive, and they arrested the senior citizen. Authorities say the woman had a .38-caliber revolver. They said the gun was not loaded, but, she did have bullets in her purse, according to The Morning Call. University of Pennsylvania police responded to a robbery call at the TD Bank at 3735 Walnut St. around 2 p.m. Tuesday. Coakley has been charged with aggravated assault, robbery and other related offenses. According to witnesses, Coakley had visited the bank the day earlier and was under the impression she had been shorted $400 from her withdrawal that was the specific total she demanded from the teller. Her family later arrived and tried to defuse the situation. Despite this, people near the bank weren’t happy. “Someone could have got shot, even accidentally. You have to have concerns. People bring their kids here,” customer Will Duggan told Fox 29 in Philadelphia. The Morning Call said she did not offer comment as police escorted her from the bank.