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A New Look: Marietta Opens Its New Sports Complex

A North Atlanta Soccer Association team practices on one of the three new soccer fields at Thursday night's ribbon-cutting for the Franklin Gateway Sports Complex’s opening.
A North Atlanta Soccer Association team practices on one of the three new soccer fields at Thursday night's ribbon-cutting for the Franklin Gateway Sports Complex’s opening.
Credit Miranda Hawkins / WABE

The city of Marietta opened its new sports complex Thursday. What used to be the Preston Chase apartments is now the 13-acre Franklin Gateway Sports Complex.

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The almost $11-million transformation includes three multi-tiered soccer fields, a small playground and a concession stand.

“It’s really an economic development project as well as much as it is a recreation project, health-and-fitness-type thing,” said Richard Buss, Marietta’s parks and recreation facilities director. “So it’s nice to get a lot of outsiders in, and they’ve just been speaking wonderfully about it.”

Buss said the teams that will use the fields are drawing people from all over metro Atlanta. They include nonprofits and teams from the North Atlanta Soccer Association.

James Reese is the executive director of the 5 Star Youth Alliance, one of the nonprofits that will use the fields for soccer and flag football.

“Problems in the area is when there’s not a place for kids to utilize their talents and get to moving. They become stagnant,” Reese said. “So now that this facility — it’s a beautiful facility — and it gives the community an opportunity to come out and just be involved.”

Marietta city officials have been working to revitalize Franklin Road, which has been renamed Franklin Gateway. For years, the area has been considered an eyesore and known more for crime than anything else.

The new sports facility is less than a half-mile down the road from the new training complex for major league soccer’s Atlanta United FC.