Legacies of Atlanta 1996 Prepare for Makeovers

(ATR) Four finalists selected for Centennial Olympic Park renovations and City Council approves sale of Turner Field.

(ATR) Four architecture firms will compete to renovate the Centennial Olympic Park in the heart of downtown Atlanta for the park’s 20th anniversary.

CRJA-Rosser, DTJ Design, Rogers Partners and Sizemore-AECOM will compete to give Centennial Olympic Park a face lift beginning in the final months of 2016.

Proposed changes include updating the entrances, the creation of an operations building that could host special events, increasing the amphitheater seating and expanding the 21-acre plot.

The renovations are expected to cost $25 million with just over half of that sum used to acquire the Metro Atlanta Chamber building. The Chamber building’s land would be used to increase the size of the park.

The fundraising campaign for the renovations was kicked off last year by the Robert Woodruff Foundation with a contribution of $10 million. The Georgia World Congress Center Authority oversees the state park and also contributed $2.5 million.

Fundraising efforts now include a brick-buying campaign that was highly successful when the park first opened 20 years ago with 487,000 personalized bricks sold.

The renovations are expected to take two years to complete.

City Council Approves Turner Field Sale

Georgia State University will officially be the new owner of Turner Field once the 2016 Major League Baseball season comes to a close.

The Atlanta City Council approved the sale on Monday as part of a $300 million redevelopment project at the stadium’s current location. Turner Field, originally known as Centennial Olympic Park, was built as the centerpiece of the 1996 Summer Games and hosted the opening ceremony as well as the track and field competitions. The Atlanta Braves MLB team called the stadium home for 20 years after the Games concluded.

Georgia State now plans to add its own baseball and football stadiums at the site along with retail shops, student and residential housing. The university also plans to preserve the legacy of the Olympic cauldron that Muhammad Ali famously lit at Atlanta's opening ceremony.

Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority (AFCRA) is keeping mum about the plans for the cauldron but preliminary plans called for a plaza to be built around the Olympic monument.

The council approved the sale 13-0 with Councilwoman Keisha Bottoms abstaining from the vote due to her role as director of AFCRA, the organization responsible for selling the stadium.

The Atlanta Braves baseball team will begin the 2017 season at the team’s new stadium in Cobb County, a few miles north of the current location.

Written by Kevin Nutley

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