Statement: Response to Atlanta City Council approving millions for public safety training center

ATLANTA — After hearing close to 15 hours of comments from the public that were nearly unanimous in opposition, the Atlanta City Council voted in the early morning hours on Tuesday to approve $67 million dollars to destroy the South River Forest and build a massive and unwanted public safety training center known as “Cop City.”

In response, Sierra Club Georgia Chapter Director Gina Webber issued the following statement:

“I’m truly moved by the hundreds and hundreds of people who turned out in huge numbers and overcame city-imposed suppression  to make their voices heard on Monday. They could not have been more clear: The people of Atlanta do not want this training center. Shame on the 11 members of City Council who listened to moving testimony for hours and still ignored the will of the public when it came time to vote. 

“Choosing to build this facility in the southeast Atlanta community is a continuation of decades of environmental racism and divestment. Residents were promised a park and greenspace in the South River Forest, just like their neighbors in midtown or Buckhead have. Instead, they will hear gunshots and explosions right outside their doors, breathe unhealthy chemicals from the nearby burn building, and be forced to experience a further militarized police force that will constantly be nearby. 

“At a time when our city faces multiple intersecting crises, spending $67 million dollars on this project is outrageous and harmful. Given the lack of transparency from the city, it’s not hard to imagine that these costs will continue to spiral upwards, further diverting our limited resources away from the programs and projects that improve communities and lives. 

“The Sierra Club believes everyone has a right to a healthy and safe environment. Despite the City Council’s cowardly vote on Tuesday morning, we will continue to fight.”