Mon, Jul 15, 2024
Public to weigh in on Jaguars stadium renovation bill as council mulls Community Benefits Agreement

Public to weigh in on Jaguars stadium renovation bill as council mulls Community Benefits Agreement

  • PublishedJune 15, 2024

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Members of the public will have a chance to share their thoughts about the proposed bill to fund the Jaguars stadium renovation at a special meeting set for Monday.

This comes as some members of the Jacksonville City Council call for the Community Benefits Agreement to be separated from the overall deal.

The CBA is slated to go toward helping the Eastside neighborhood and other community issues.

RELATED | City council could take popular $300M Community Benefits Agreement out of Jags stadium deal, vote on it separately

The proposed “Stadium of the Future” has been talked about for months. But now, it’s the deal’s CBA that has city council members debating hard — with some saying it should be separate from the deal.

News4JAX spoke to one woman and pastor in the Eastside neighborhood, known by many as Mother Pearl. She said one thing is not a debate.

“We were made a lot of promises, but it didn’t manifest into anything,” Mother Pearl said.

Mother Pearl has been in the Eastside neighborhood for 54 years and said it needs the support, for reasons that go beyond revitalization.

“See the curbs here?” Mother Pearl showed News4JAX. “They only get cleaned when I clean them. And it gets filthy, but then I have take the garbage out because we don’t have proper garbage pickup for the ones that’s in this area here.”

While some have mixed views about the CBA, there’s no doubting its popularity among residents.

A recent poll from the University of North Florida suggested Jacksonville residents overwhelmingly support it, despite its $300,000,000 price tag. It would be split between the Jaguars and the city. In addition to helping the Eastside, the city’s funding would support existing programs for both affordable housing and homelessness, helping parks, and opening up colleges and facilities to fuel workforce development.

MORE | Eastside Jacksonville leader pushes for inclusion of $300M community benefits agreement to make up for past promises

Jacksonville Councilman Rory Diamond has been a vocal opponent of the CBA and anticipated some decisions will come soon.

“I think the CBA is going to come out, I think both because the council majority of council seats come out,” Diamond said. “And also because of conflicts, it’s going to require them to come out.”

News4JAX reporter Ashley Harding asked Diamond about the impact this could have on the Eastside residents if the CBA doesn’t through.

“How do you put their minds at ease that they will still see benefits?” she asked.

“You need to have everybody working together with the people’s interests first, but it can’t just be at the expense of the rest of the city, or just one neighborhood,” Diamond said. “If we’re all working together, then a rising tide lifts all boats.”

Whatever the outcome of the agreement, Mother Pearl’s hope is this neighborhood will not be forgotten.

“There’s a lot of people out there that really need help,” Mother Pearl said.

The council’s public hearing is scheduled for Monday at 5 p.m.

Copyright 2024 by WJXT News4JAX – All rights reserved.

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