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Atlanta Braves plan new ballpark for 2017 baseball season

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves will leave Turner Field, their home in the city’s downtown, for a new $672 million stadium to be partially funded by taxpayers, the team said in a surprise announcement on Monday.

The Major League Baseball ballpark, set to be ready for the National League team’s opening day in spring 2017, will be located 12 miles (20 km) north of the current stadium and near the intersection of two major interstates in Cobb County.

“We believe the new stadium location is easy to access, while also giving our fans a first-rate gameday experience in and around the ballpark and making it a 365-day-a-year destination,” said Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz.

The site also will include land for retail, restaurants and hotels, the team said.

The county would invest in the project, the Braves said without detailing how much of the estimated cost taxpayers would shoulder.

The exact source of Cobb County’s public funding for the new stadium has not yet been finalized, said county spokesman Robert Quigley.

The team has played at its current ballpark since 1997. The venue was constructed for the 1996 Olympic Games and converted for use by the Braves.

The team said it would not renew its current lease with the city of Atlanta and Fulton County Recreation Authority when it expires at the end of 2016.

Turner Field, named for media mogul and former team owner Ted Turner, needs $150 million in renovations, including new seats and upgraded lighting, the Braves said.

It also lacks adequate parking and the team has no control over development around it, according to the Braves.