Atlanta officials approve $31 million for police facility targeted in domestic terror attacks
The budget was approved despite strong opposition from protesters and community members.
The Atlanta City Council has approved $31 million in public funding for the construction of a proposed police and firefighter training center, amid months of demonstrations from left-leaning protesters including roughly 20 arrested in March on domestic terrorism charges.
City officials in approving the spending Tuesday say the new 85-acre facility will replace existing training facilities and help in the hiring and retaining police officers.
Mayor Andre Dickens, Democrat said the budget approval “marks a major milestone for better preparing our fire, police and emergency responders to protect and serve our communities.”
Opponents of the center staged a nearly 14-hour protest at the City Council meeting at which the spending was approved.
“We don’t want it because it doesn’t contribute to life," said Emory University religion professor Sara McClintock. "It’s not an institution of peace. It’s not a way forward for our city that we love.”
In the incident in March, roughly 150 masked protesters in the so-called “Stop Cop City” movement chased officers from the training facility construction site and set fire to construction equipment, according to the Associated Press.
The movement gained traction following the fatal police shooting in January at the site of Manuel Paez Terán, a 26-year-old environmental activist who went by the name “Tortuguita.”
The training center was approved by the City Council in September 2021 but an additional vote was required for more funding.
The city will have to pay a total of $36 million over 30 years for using the facility, in addition to the $31 million for construction.
Additional funds will come from the Atlanta Police Foundation, the wire service also reports. The total cost for the facility will reportedly be $90 million.