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Posted: 3:46 a.m. Monday, Jan. 28, 2013

Groundbreaking for College Football Hall of Fame

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college football hall of fame
Rendering courtesy of Atlanta Hall Management

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 College Football Hall of Fame photo
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Artist's rendering of future College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
College Football Hall of Fame photo
The ground breaking will happen Jan. 28, but the College Football Hall of Fame is scheduled to open by the football season in 2014.

By Mark AlewineJay Black and Jon Lewis

This could be the first step in ensuring Atlanta is college football’s capital.

The ceremonial shovels will be thrown into the ground Monday to start construction of the College Football Hall of Fame in Downtown Atlanta.

The $66 million interactive museum is moving from South Bend Indiana to an area around Centennial Olympic Park, the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coca-Cola and the Georgia Dome.

 "The short story is this," Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed says, ”Atlanta is football.  And Georgia is football.  And we are glad that the hall decided to make Atlanta home."

The hall is expected to be ready in time for the start of the 2014 season and the two Chick-fil-a Kickoff Classic games at the Georgia Dome.

"I know the passion the people in the Atlanta area, and in this part of the country, have for college football," says Archie Manning, "and we think it's the perfect site for the College Football Hall of Fame."

The museum is expected to attract around 500,000 visitors per year, according to studies by Atlanta Hall Management. That’s about half of what the old museum was receiving in South Bend.

The National Football Foundation announced three years ago it was moving the hall to Atlanta following years of low attendance since opening in 1995. But issues with public funding and the recession have delayed the groundbreaking until Monday.

Most of the funds for the museum are being privately raised. The agreement between the NFF and Atlanta is for 30 years.

The hall is expected to have an economic impact of almost $12 million a year.

Atlanta already hosts the two Kickoff Classic Games, the SEC Championship, and the Chick-fil-a Bowl. The city is also in contention to hosts games in the new college football playoff that starts in 2014.

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