The Atlanta Falcons' quest to play in an outdoor, open-air stadium with a grass field has been the intent of the organization since it began negotiations for a new facility with the Georgia World Congress Center over a year ago. Now the indoor/outdoor debate is the key sticking point, according to a report by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The crux of the issue is that the GWCC doesn't just serve the Falcons - it also has to keep events like the SEC football championship, various basketball events (such as the 2013 Final Four) and the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff and Bowl games in mind. While the Falcons organization is pushing for an open-air stadium, none of the aforementioned events want to leave domed stadiums.
The issue now - whether or not to revise the plans for a new stadium and add a retractable roof (thus upping the price of a new facility considerably), or maintain a dual-facility model with a new open-air stadium and the Georgia Dome, which would also drive prices up in maintaining both facilities, as well as scheduling particular events in each locale:
"Our [GWCC] campus already is very active, and oh, by the way, we’ve got a major arena [Philips] right across the street," Poe said. "So when you start trying to peel back the layers of the onion associated with how you make two stadiums work together, the complexity elevates substantially."
There is one good sign, regardless of confusion and debate over plans - the state legislature approved extending the Georgia hotel/motel occupancy tax (in Atlanta) from 2020 to 2050 to cover public funding for a new or renovated stadium on the GWCC grounds.