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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Liberty Plaza, the Gold Dome's new protest area, could open next year

Demonstrators would have a spacious new area to protest
The Georgia State Capitol will soon have a new designated spot for protesters to picket, chant, and agitate lawmakers - across the street from the Gold Dome.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle yesterday reported that Atlanta-based design firm Stevens & Wilkinson will oversee a $3.3 million overhaul of Liberty Plaza, a greenspace and the Gold Dome's future staging area for protests.

Last August, Gov. Nathan Deal was considering making some renovations to the area around the Gold Dome, some of which were proposed near the end of former Gov. Sonny Perdue's second term. The improvements are aimed to making the area more walkable and friendly to tourists. As part of those changes, the parking deck on Capitol Avenue adjacent to the State Capitol Building and overlooking the Downtown Connector would be razed and replaced with a greenspace for demonstrations.

Liberty Plaza would be designed to accommodate nearly 4,500 protesters. Initial plans call for the lot's demolition to start in January. The new plaza would be finished by the end of next year.

You might recall that, around the time Deal was said to be rethinking the area around Capitol Hill, officials were scratching their heads over what to do with the former World of Coca-Cola. One rumored possibility, which has been thrown about for several years, was to open the state's official history museum inside the vacant building near Underground Atlanta. But Georgia Building Authority spokesman Paul Melvin tells CL that plans for the proposed South Downtown tourist attraction are "on hold at this time." The structure might need upwards of $17 million in repairs.

We also reached out to Stevens & Wilkinson for more details. If we hear back, we'll post an update.

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