By Katie Leslie

The Georgia Supreme Court has upheld the city of Atlanta's plans to help finance the new $1.4 billion Falcons stadium, allowing the city to move forward with issuing $200 million in bonds toward the project.

The decision comes more than a year after a group of residents from English Avenue and Vine City first intervened in the deal brokered by Mayor Kasim Reed and approved by the Atlanta City Council in 2013, a legal challenge that has long delayed Atlanta's plans.

Meanwhile, construction of the retractable roof stadium -- set to open in 2017 -- is well underway in downtown Atlanta.

The court upheld a Fulton County Superior Court judge's decision last May to validate the bonds backed by hotel-motel taxes.

John Woodham, who represented the Rev. William Cottrell, Mamie Lee Moore, Tracy Bates, Joe Beasley and John H. Lewis III in the challenge, could not be immediately reached for comment.

In a statement issued Monday, Reed said he was "pleased" with the outcome and said the project will generate $155 million in annual revenue, while retaining the football team for at least three more decades.

The Falcons, who were not a party to the lawsuit, thanked the city and state authorities involved in the project.

"We appreciate the support and diligence of our partners at the city, Invest Atlanta and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority in seeing this through, and we look forward to continuing to work with them as we complete the construction of a facility that will benefit the city and state for many years to come," the team said in a statement released Monday.

(c)2015 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)