By Larry Felton Johnson
A group of Cobb County business and political leaders, and family members of the late Tim Lee, assembled in The Battery Atlanta last week to dedicate a street in his honor: Tim Lee Way.
Lee was chairman of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners from 2010 through 2016, and spearheaded the controversial decision to bring the Atlanta Braves to Cobb County, and to contribute county funds to the building of what became Truist Park.
He was defeated by fellow Republican Mike Boyce in the 2016 election, arguably on the basis of public discontent about the stadium deal.
Mike Plant, president and CEO of the Braves Development Company and who was recently chosen as the Cobb Chamber’s 2024 Chairman of the Board, spoke about what he called Lee’s ‘entrepreneurial spirit’.”
He described that spirit as “different than we’ve obviously experienced at some certain government leaders.”
“About nine years ago, we all had the opportunity to put our boots on and many of us walked through these woods,” Plant said. “And here we stand today, and obviously it looks a lot different.”
“The Battery has been a tremendous success to this park, and obviously our team,” he said. “And we know a lot of that is because of Tim.”
“Tim was not only obviously a beloved husband, and a father and … a friend to many of us, but he was an incredibly bold leader,” said Plant. “He got up every morning, sometimes way too early for me.”
“We met at the Waffle House and had a lot of six o’clock, 6:30 a.m. breakfasts,” Plant said.
Chairwoman Lisa Cupid, who now occupies the leadership seat in the Cobb County Board of Commissioners once held by Lee, and who was critical of the stadium deal when it came before the Cobb County BOC, spoke about the number of visitors the ballpark and the Battery had attracted.
“The Battery will always be a part of Tim Lee’s legacy here in Cobb County,” she said. “And every day we are attracting thousands of people to this attraction here for our county.”
“And he had a significant hand in that,” she said. “Without him we would not be here.”
“The Battery attracted nine million visitors just in 2021 alone,” Cupid said.
Lee’s wife Annette Lee received a replica of the street sign to take with her.
She read from printed notes, and joked that “I know most people would have an electronic device in their hands right now. I prefer the old fashioned way, in 16-point type.”
“My family and I would like to thank the Braves organization, and all those responsible for this honor for Tim,” Annette Lee said. “And thank you also to my family and friends who took time out from their busy lives to be here today.”
“We are incredibly proud and grateful to have had Tim in our lives,” she said.
“Tim served his community, county and state for over 20 years,” she said.
Annette Lee said that Chairman Lee had always tried to leave things better than he found them, and to place greenspace and trails in new developments, with minimal impacts on the surrounding communities.
Watch the video of the ceremony
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The Battery Atlanta was developed by the Braves organization and other development partners as part of the controversial decision of the Atlanta Braves to move from Turner Field in the City of Atlanta to the stadium in Cobb County that began as SunTrust Park and became Truist Park after SunTrust bank merged with BB&T to form Truist Park.
As part of the stadium deal, the area surrounding the ballpark was developed as a mixed-use community: The Battery Atlanta.
The Battery Atlanta is located in the Cumberland Community Improvement District area at the intersection of I-75 and I-285, adjacent to Cobb Parkway.
According to its website the complex is 2 million square feet.
The stadium opened in 2017 and anchors the mixed-use development.
The Battery was designed by Wakefield Beasley & Associates, which has since been acquired by Nelson, and includes restaurants, apartments, hotels, retail and office space.