Mt. Vernon Baptist Church accepts city's $14.5 million offer - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Mt. Vernon Baptist Church accepts city's $14.5 million offer

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ATLANTA, GA (CBS46) -

CBS Atlanta Mount Vernon Baptist Church members have voted to sell the church to the city for $14.5 million.

Members of the congregation said vote was 116 to 16 to sell the church to the city. Officials said this vote will help pave the way for the new Atlanta Falcon's stadium to be built in downtown Atlanta.

Rev. Rodney Turner said it is a sensitive time for the congregation. He said it was not about money but prayer and helping the community. Turner said the church has many outreach programs that will benefit.

The congregation does not know where they will build the new church, but Turner said they will stay in the Vine City-English Avenue area.

Some of the 16 people who voted against it said the city was destroying history.

"I think it is appalling for the city to consider desecrating the sacred ground of two historic black churches to consider building a stadium for a second rate football team," said Vickie Johnson, parishioner. Johnson said her family has been with the church since its beginning 98 years ago.

Those who acknowledged voting for the sale said it was about moving forward.

"The church is within us not a building," said Damon Britton, parishioner.

The Georgia World Congress Center Authority initially offered the church $6.2 million and negotiations stalled. Political leader Andrew Young and Mayor Kasim Reed stepped in, and the Atlanta Falcons organization agreed to pay additional money to get the deal done.

The church's leaders had publicly supported the deal, but the congregation's approval was needed to allow the sale to happen.

The next step is a vote by Friendship Baptist Church. Members are scheduled to vote Sunday on a $19.5 million offer to buy their church.

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