While a group of residents and students may be expressing their concerns on the redevelopment, down by the stadium, business owners and other residents expressed excitement and anticipation.
Located a mile south from Turner Field, right on the border of Peoplestown, is the non-profit coffee shop Community Grounds Café. Jess Delp, the man behind the coffee, said that they didn’t receive much traffic from The Braves but is optimistic that it will be good for business now that Georgia State has taken the reigns.
“The community benefit of the neighborhood is that it will bring new development and activity to the neighborhood in what has been a dead parking lot. The more activity going on nearby, the better it is for everyone. If more people see this as a place where they can live and call home, that’s only going to help us out in the long run,” said Delp.
When asked if he was excited about the new developments, Delp responded with, “I wouldn’t say I’m excited about it, I would say I’m hopeful”. He said he would have to wait until he sees more concrete plans for what Georgia State is actually going to do with the property, but doing something with the parking lot is better than doing nothing.
Delp is a resident of the neighborhood and has been for 15 years.
“I’m tired of not having the stuff I want or need within a mile to my house. I’m always leaving the neighborhood to go do anything. To have that stuff close by and having more options I think would be better,” Delp said.
He said he doesn’t understand why a CBA should be signed.
“You can’t do anything without having some negatives. Something is always going to affect someone negatively. There are issues with gentrification, there are issues with people being pushed out, there are issues with rent going up, but there are other stories to tell on that too that aren’t always being told,” Delp said.
“That’s the struggle I have as a neighborhood resident is that those who are mad have the loudest voice, and they have a valid voice and they should be listened to,” Delp said. “But it’s not the only voice, there are plenty of people who aren’t mad, who are indifferent, or who you know may not be as passionate or who are passionate for something to happen there. How do we hear all the voices?”
He believes there is risk involved, that neighbors are being displaced and those voices and concerns are real but also believes that there is risk in not developing parking lots as well, “how do we do what’s best for the most amount of people?” That is a concern, and a struggle, that Delp expressed as a resident and a businessman.
Alan Conner is the owner of the local restaurant Dakota Blue, located in Grant Park, and long-time resident of the neighborhood. Being only a half mile away from the venue, Conner said he is very excited about the new development that Georgia State will bring.
“I think it’s a positive for the neighborhood. I’ve lived in Grant Park for 20-something years and I think it’s good. I don’t see any negatives at all,” he said, adding that he’s not worried about a CBA.
Victoria Bennett Trestail, owner of the local Bennett’s Market & Deli down the street, shares many of the same views as Conner. As a resident of the neighborhood, she said she believes it will be great. However, Trestail does have one concern over rent prices raising in the future but said that was in the back of her mind.
“Larger companies who have more capital funding and more money coming in could make rent come up for smaller businesses,” Trestail said, adding that the new developments however, will probably not take away from her business.