The Centennial Olympics Stadium in Atlanta is best remembered for hosting the 1996 edition of the Olympic Games in the United States. This monumental structure has continued to occupy an important place in the architectural landscape of the city being a host to numerous events since then. It was built in two phases with the first being completed in time for the Summer Olympics and the second thereafter.
The structure occupies an area of 21 acres right in the middle of the city and is a neighbor to famous corporations and landmarks including the CNN Center, Phillips Arena, World of Coca Cola and the Georgia Aquarium.
The Centennial was constructed in a public park that was set aside for the specific purpose of hosting the Olympic Games while taking future use into consideration by designing it to become a baseball stadium that was duly leased by the Atlanta Braves after the Olympics. It is owned and managed by the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, and the construction was undertaken by the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, while being home to among other events, the Independence Day Concert and fireworks display as well as various popular music concert series. Donations were made by the public to aid in its construction through the purchase of bricks that were used in its construction at a fee of $35 allowing for an inscription of the donor’s choice of up to 15 characters.
Before construction began, a competition was held to determine the best architectural structure to be used in its development. It has been designed to accommodate pin traders, presentation of medals and entertainment activities in line with the spirit of the games as well as sponsorships. This turned out well until the July bombings of 1996 that left 2 dead and a hundred injured. As such it was closed and reopened under revamped security that included the second phase of construction. There has also been minor damage as a result of a tornado outbreak in 2008, the first of its kind since weather monitoring started in the city centuries ago, but was subsequently repaired.
The Centennial Park offers amazing features that include the Fountain of Rings that has lights and jets of water synchronized with music and played around the fountain. This fountain was designed as a play space for children and a convenient location for citizens who need to cool off in the summer heat of Atlanta. There are also shows around the fountain that take place throughout the year and flags that represent the previous hosting countries of the modern day Olympics.
The Park continues to contribute a great deal to the economy of Atlanta City together with other famous monuments and landmarks and is one of the many reasons why the city has remained buoyant even during difficult economic periods. As such, the Centennial is an example of visionary investment by the local authorities that have found much use in its construction long after the Olympic Games that were held 17 long years ago.
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