(ATR) The Georgia Dome's Olympic legacy lives on as an insurance policy.
The Georgia Dome and Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Twitter/@mckayWSB)
The planned demolition of the Atlanta 1996 venue is on hold as construction delays for the city’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium grow longer.
This is the third delay to the opening of the stadium, which features a unique retractable roof. The original March 1 deadline has subsequently been pushed back to June 1, then July 30 and now August 26.
The city’s new Major League Soccer team Atlanta United was supposed to open the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in March to begin its inaugural season. The team has been playing at nearby Bobby Dodd Stadium, the home of Georgia Tech’s college football team. But Georgia Tech needs the stadium back in August, which is forcing Atlanta United to postpone two home games scheduled for August until later in the MLS season.
Meanwhile, the Georgia Dome remains standing as an insurance policy. The Georgia Dome has been home to the NFL's Atlanta Falcons since it opened in 1992. Olympic basketball and gymnastics were held at the venue during the Atlanta 1996 Games.
The last event at the Dome was in early March. The original demolition plan, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, called for the stadium to be imploded around August 1. But now it's Plan B, should the Mercedes-Benz Stadium not be ready for the Falcons' preseason game on August 26 ahead of the beginning of the regular season in September.
If the Dome is needed as a substitute, the artificial playing surface would have to be re-installed.
The site of the former Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium (Wikimedia)
While one Olympic venue is being torn down another will be revived.
The site of the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, used for baseball in the 1996 Games, will soon be transformed from a parking lot into the new home of the Georgia State University Panthers baseball team.
The stadium is scheduled to be finished in 2018.
Adjacent to the stadium is the former Turner Field, a remolded version of the Centennial Olympic stadium used in 1996. Later this year, it will become home to Georgia State's football team.
Georgia State plans to convert the now 49,586 seat venue into a 23,000 seat facility, reserving the stadium's club level for academic use.
The university will host its first football game of the season against Tennessee State University on Aug. 31 to kick off the latest incarnation of the former Olympic venue. Georgia State will host six games at the stadium this year.
SunTrust Park on opening day (Wikimedia)
Official plans for the redevelopments and monument movements surrounding both venues are still being determined.
Ownership of the monuments was transferred to Georgia State University and the State of Georgia by the previous owners, the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority, once the purchase of the stadium, now known as Turner Field, was finalized by Georgia State.
With the demolition of the Georgia Dome, the GWCCA also intends to preserve Olympic history by keeping the statues in their original place.
The Atlanta Braves baseball team - former residents of Turner Field - have already begun the season in the newly constructed Sun Trust Park in suburban Atlanta.
The Braves began their journey in their new home on Mar. 31, in an exhibition game against the New York Yankees. Around the Rings
attended the game, speaking with several players about this new experience
Written by Gerard Farek and Courtney Colquitt
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