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Jags president hopeful as community huddles wrap for Stadium of the Future proposal

Jags president hopeful as community huddles wrap for Stadium of the Future proposal

  • PublishedMay 31, 2024

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Ticket affordability, downtown development, and of course, stadium updates were topics of concern at the last community huddle with the city of Jacksonville and the Jaguars.

Dozens sat in Westside High School’s auditorium Thursday to learn about the $1.4 billion deal that splits the cost of construction for the EverBank Stadium between the city and the Jags.

Each party is paying $625 million, and the city will also pay an extra $150 million for stadium maintenance and upkeep. There’s also an additional $300 million that the city and the team will split for community investments that will go toward workforce development, affordable housing, parks and the Outeast community.

“I think it was a pretty good deal. The city is gonna win in the end,” David Lattimore said at the meeting.

RELATED: Latest draft of ‘Stadium of the Future’ deal says city could get money back if Jaguars move within 14 years of upgrades

Jaguars President Mark Lamping said the stadium will be the single largest private investment in the history of downtown Jacksonville.

“You’ll be able to secure NFL football here in Northeast Florida for generations to come. You bring about significant benefits to the entire community, you bring about additional development,” Lamping said. “I think at the end of the day, this can this is a bit of an inflection point, and it can be a catalyst to help Jacksonville stop talking about its potential and start talking about the things that are actually happening.”

MORE | Jacksonville residents say they want to see affordable housing, jobs as part of stadium agreement

Lattimore agreed that the deal was the best-case scenario for the city.

“The Jaguars are gonna put in a little extra to help the city and I feel like it’s a good deal. It’s a good deal for the building trades. It’s a good deal. It’s a win for everybody,” Lattimore said.

John Parker, a lifelong Jacksonville resident and 29-year season ticket holder, hopes local construction workers will be included in the project and that they can afford tickets to the games. He suggested the city could do that by using registered apprentices.

“It gives the city an opportunity to get work, that workers that are performing the work could actually afford to buy the Jaguar tickets,” Parker said. “I fear that we’ll have a lot of workers that are from out of state, out of town, doing this job, that won’t be back to buy season tickets.”

Lamping said the point of the huddles was to explain the deal to the community and receive feedback.

“What we’ve done with these five, you know, following up with almost 20, community huddles that the Jaguars did last year, I think is put us in a position where we had the best deal we could possibly put together. And I think it’s been received that way publicly,” he said.

Overall, Jaguars President Mark Lamping said he’s been pleased with the process and looks forward to the council’s vote in late June.

Outgoing City Council President Ron Salem says the goal is to vote by June 25.

But before that, the Jacksonville City Council will hold workshops to discuss the parts of the deal they’ll be voting on.

If the council approves the plan this summer, the NFL owners will then vote on it in October.

The topic did not come up at Thursday’s meeting but over the past few weeks, there have been some misconceptions about the deal.

Some residents have expressed confusion about why the city is paying an astronomical amount for a stadium renovation when the Duval County School Board faces budget issues, causing potential closures and teacher shortages.

The school district clarified the city of Jacksonville doesn’t fund its budget. DCPS is funded by federal and state dollars, along with local property taxes.

Copyright 2024 by WJXT News4JAX – All rights reserved.

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