(Marietta, GA - June 7, 2016) To clarify some inaccurate reports, in 2014, the county did not redirect money earmarked for the acquisition of public parks. The decision to not issue park bonds took place in 2010 under then-Chairman Sam Olens in response to the great recession. The economic decline of that time forced county leadership to make tough decisions and cutbacks in every area, including acquiring new parks.
When the Braves approached Cobb County in 2013, it presented an unparalleled economic development opportunity that would propel investment in the county. The “Coliseum Project” bond issued in 2014 by the Cobb-Marietta Galleria and Exhibit Hall Authority for SunTrust Park was unrelated to the park bond that was abandoned in 2010. It features a debt structure that will be serviced jointly by the Braves, the Cumberland Special Services District and the County. The ballpark has already resulted in a $300 million private investment halo effect, benefiting all Cobb citizens.
In response to citizen interest in reviving the parks acquisition project, in January 2016, the Board of Commissioners unanimously approved moving forward with reconsidering the issuance of the 2008 Greenspace bonds and subsequently charged the Cobb Recreation Board with revisiting the original property list, and began accepting nominations for additional properties.