Courtesy Atlanta Falcons
Courtesy Atlanta Falcons

NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell, Falcons owner Arthur Blank, Mayor Kasim Reed and lots of fans were in Downtown tonight for the ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Atlanta Falcons stadium tonight. The $1 billion, retractable-roof stadium will open in 2017 and be home to the Falcons and the new Major League Soccer Team.

In the meantime, a group of citizens is trying to save historic Friendship Baptist Church, despite the fact that the church sold the property to make way for the Falcons’ stadium. The citizen group, which is not affiliated with the church, is planning to ask the Atlanta City Council to give them time to raise enough money to move Friendship’s original church structure to a different location.

“Especially on the west side of Atlanta, this is the most historical and significant piece of our history and our legacy,” said John H. Lewis, III, of the group Atlanta Beloved Community Coalition. “The history for us as a community is larger than the congregation itself. It is our history, the history not only of Atlanta, of Georgia, but world history as well.”

A new rendering of the stadium.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.