Jay Cunningham, owner of Superior Plumbing, and John Loud, president of Loud Security Systems, both based in Kennesaw, visited the 60-acre wooded site of the proposed stadium, located near the Cumberland Mall, on Monday to film a commercial that will begin airing on Comcast on Wednesday.
They are part of a group of seven who launched a website, CobbHomeoftheBraves.com, on Monday to encourage residents to urge commissioners to vote yes for the proposal on Nov. 26.
Cunningham said he and Loud have volunteered together on previous civic-minded campaigns, such as promoting special purpose local option sales tax referenda.
“We’re trying to get Cobb to come together and realize that the stadium is a perfect and maybe the best idea ever for Cobb that we have,” Cunningham said. “It brings Atlanta to Cobb. It puts us on show, essentially, forever. We can show the rest of Georgia and maybe even further who we are and how good Cobb is.”
The website is offering a drawing to win a pair 2017 season tickets for Cobb residents who send a message of support to commissioners.
“Jay and I are willing to put all of our resources behind it between now and next Monday to try to get the citizens to let the commissioners know that this is what we want,” Loud said.
Having a unanimous, 5-0 vote by the Board of Commissioners approving the deal, Loud believes, is important because it sends a signal that Cobb is united.
“I think for anybody else that’s outside the area now that’s looking at moving into Georgia who says ‘Where do I think I want to go to?’ When they look at Cobb and see they supported and united around such a strong program where the Braves are saying we’re going to take care of all the cost overruns — where there’s a limiting factor in no new taxes — this is such a wonderful opportunity for Cobb to have,” Loud said.
The county’s 45 percent portion of the stadium proposal includes funding from basically four sources: a $3 per room, per night fee on hotel stays, a new tax on owners of commercial property and apartments within the Cumberland CID, a new tax on rental cars, and a reallocation of property tax revenue starting in 2017 that continues an existing bond payment for 30 years.
Loud said a new stadium and the mixed-use development proposed to go with it would generate dollars for the school system.
“These 60 acres have produced zero SPLOST money for parks and recreation, have produced zero money for education, and when you look at the economic impact between jobs, construction work, the ongoing jobs from restaurants where people will live and play and the active community that is about to develop here, it’s a tremendous opportunity,” he said.
Both men emphasized that they were promoting the stadium to help the community, not to personally benefit from it.
“At the end of the day, this complex doesn’t increase plumbing per se or security per se, so I hope that people will see we’re stepping outside of what’s about security,” Loud said. “It’s about what’s good for economic development, what’s good for the Cobb citizens as a whole.”
Opposition to the stadium deal is also forming.
Attorney Loren Collins of Brookhaven started a petition opposing the deal last week at 300millionreasons.com.
“The petition is specifically to oppose public funding for stadiums,” Collins said. “As a fiscal conservative, I just consider that to be a subsidy to private interests and essentially corporate welfare.”