Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan said all options are being considered when it comes to the city’s ownership of EverBank Stadium.
“I like the fact, frankly, that the city owns the stadium. I’d like for us to be able to do things with that stadium. I personally would like to continue to own it. But everything’s on the table as we as we begin these negotiations,” the mayor said Monday during a conversation with the Rotary Club of Jacksonville.
The mayor says her goal is to get the best possible deal for the city and help keep the Jaguars in Jacksonville. An email seeking further comment from the mayor’s office after her Monday comments was not immediately returned.
Deegan also said she would like to see the Jacksonville Jaguars do more to reduce heat inside Everbank Stadium. She said she likes the team’s plan for stadium renovations, which includes a coated glass covering meant to reduce heat, but she is eager to discuss more ways to protect spectators.
“We definitely need to be speaking about the heat. That is one of those issues that I’m really anxious to talk more about and see what we’re gonna do with it,” Deegan said.
According to stadium renovation designs released in June 2023, an updated stadium would still be an open-air venue but it would have a large shade canopy that would reduce heat retention by more than 70% and lower temperatures in the building by 10 to 15 degrees.
During the home opener Sunday, Jacksonville Fire and Rescue reportedly treated 110 people, most of them for heat-related illnesses. Temperatures were in the low 90’s throughout the game, and humidity made it feel much hotter.
A new University of North Florida poll says only 4% of respondents said temperature issues were the biggest priority for stadium renovations. The overwhelming majority of people surveyed said economic investment in underserved neighborhoods was the No. 1 priority in the negotiations with the NFL team.
“We have a lot of needs in this community. We have a lot of areas around where our stadium falls, that are communities that are historic communities that need revitalization that really could use a lot of help,” Deegan told the Rotary Club.
In June, Jaguars team President Mark Lamping vowed not to displace residents of the Eastside, to the north of the stadium and entertainment complex.
The cost of a renovated stadium is currently estimated to be anywhere from $1.3 billion to $1.4 billion and the Jaguars envision splitting the cost 50-50 with the city.