This is a big year for Atlanta sports fans. As I write this, we’re just days away from Atlanta United’s home opener at Bobby Dodd. In July the team will move into its permanent home, the gargantuan Mercedes-Benz Stadium that is rising out of Vine City like a spaceship. Also the new home field for the Falcons, Mercedes-Benz will host, in three consecutive years, the College Football Playoff National Championship (2018), the Super Bowl (2019), and the Final Four (2020).
But I’m getting ahead of myself. April means baseball, and this April in particular means the debut of SunTrust Park, the new home of the Braves. We asked contributing writer Josh Green to give us a deep dive into the many elements of not just the new park, but also the Battery Atlanta, the bustling development around SunTrust. (And yes, he made sure to address the traffic question, though no one will know the answer for sure until rush hour of Friday, April 14, the date of Braves’ home opener against the Padres.)
The tale of SunTrust Park is, like many Atlanta stories, a story about development—in this case, how 60 acres in one of the most commercially desirable parts in the metro area became the new home to one of our most treasured civic assets. As it turns out, we have another story this month about a treasured civic asset: Morris Brown College. I’ve lived in Atlanta for approaching 20 years now, and it seems that for just about all that time, this historically black college has been mere days away from closing for good. But it’s held on—implausibly, inexplicably. Thomas Wheatley, whom we just poached from our friends at Creative Loafing, takes us behind the scenes in the struggle to save this institution.
While there was no grand plan that went into running stories on both SunTrust Park and Morris Brown in the same month, looking at them now both in sequence, they are fitting counterpoints. Together, they embody the odd dichotomy that is Atlanta—the fascination with the shiny and new, which often diverts our attention from the institutions that make us who we are. When we’re at our best at Atlanta magazine, we’re shining a light on both ends of that spectrum.
This article originally appeared in our April 2017 issue.