Signs that were posted by protesters in front of Turner Field.

Signs that were posted by protesters in front of Turner Field. / Georgia Public Broadcasting

Georgia State University has been working to expand its campus, and the redevelopment of Turner Field is the university’s latest effort to do so. Some members of the community have come together to voice their concerns with the project.

A group of residents have been camping outside of Turner Field since Saturday, April 1, and they are refusing to leave until a legal document regarding issues surrounding the redevelopment is signed. The Turner Field Community Benefits Coalition and the Housing Justice League organized the “Tent City” demonstration.

“I don’t live here, but I’m here in solidarity because if I don’t speak out, I’m ok with people being displaced,” ” said Georgia State student Asma Elhuni.

Both community groups have spoken out about the Turner Field redevelopment ever since it began. Residents from neighborhoods in Summerhill, Peoplestown, Pittsburgh, and Mechanicsville want to ensure that the voice of the community is included in the Turner Field project as well as future developments.

Turner Field was purchased by Georgia State and a joint venture made up of Carter, Oakwood Development, and Healey Weatherholtz Properties in Jan. 2017. The 68- acre stretch of land surrounding the former Braves stadium is being transformed into a mixture of athletic, academic, housing and retail facilities.

"The biggest challenges we are attacking right now are transit connectivity, along with planning for the appropriate infrastructure to support a dynamic mixed-use community," Carter President Scott Taylor said in a statement.

The TFCBC and HJL are requesting that GSU President, Mark Becker, sign a “Community Benefits Agreement.” The CBA ensures that the redevelopment will not displace any long-term residents in the area. It also asks for $22.1 million to be set aside for education, scholarship funds, arts services, and advocacy programs.

“With this binding agreement, there are things like a cap,” Elhuni said. “For example, if they’re putting more than 30 percent of their income towards taxes, there will be a cap so they can keep their home.”

Protesters are asking residents to call Carter Development and Georgia State, and to demand them to sign the CBA agreement.

In his last “Conversation with the President” video, Becker said that he is prohibited from signing a CBA. Becker and Carter have both stated that all of the developers involved have met with neighborhood organization leaders to discuss their concerns.

"We are working collaboratively with the community, the city and elected officials to advocate for transportation and infrastructure improvements to positively change this part of our city for generations to come," Taylor said.

The Turner Field construction is scheduled to be finished at the beginning of the 2017 NCAA football season. The campers have stated that they are not leaving until the CBA is signed, even if that means staying until the season starts.

“This is a nice neighborhood, this place is a jewel mine,” resident Ofunmuyiwa Efundele said. “Don’t overlook it.” 

A sign stretches across a few tents at the

A sign stretches across a few tents at the "Tent City" demonstration. / Georgia Public Broadcasting