EverBank Stadium would remain the name of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ stadium through 2027 under a proposed sponsorship extension. | Casmira Harrison, Jacksonville TodayEverBank Stadium would remain the name of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ stadium through 2027 under a proposed sponsorship extension. | Casmira Harrison, Jacksonville Today
EverBank Stadium would remain the name of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ stadium through 2027 under a proposed sponsorship extension. | Casmira Harrison, Jacksonville Today

Residents urge City Council to approve stadium deal with community benefits agreement 

Published on June 17, 2024 at 10:24 pm

Dozens of Jacksonville residents spoke in support of a proposed stadium deal between the city and the Jacksonville Jaguars at a public hearing on the deal Monday at City Hall. Almost all speakers showed support for the plan – specifically a community benefits agreement that would invest $300 million in the Eastside and other parts of Jacksonville.

At least 50 people urged leaders to support the community benefits agreement that would, in part, provide $50 million for workforce development, affordable housing and homeless initiatives; $30 million for economic development in the area near the stadium, historically referred to as “Outeast,” which would also include affordable housing and homelessness funding; $14 million spread across all council districts; $10.04 million for Riverfront Plaza; $24.7 million for the Shipyards West Park and $12.5 million for Metropolitan Park.

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A good percentage of speakers wore orange shirts with the phrase “Believe in Outeast” and asked council to keep the agreement as part of the stadium deal. They emphasized the need for investment in the historically neglected neighborhood. 

One speaker, Jerome Young, lives on Palmetto Street.

“I represent over 400 years of heritage here in Jacksonville,” said Young. “My sister owns a daycare center that’s been there for 40 years. My father was the ice and oil man in the community for — I’m 70 — as long as I was living, and I support the CBA.”

He says he hears people complain about safety issues Outeast.

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“That’s only because people don’t have jobs,” said Young. “And with the trade unions being able to provide apprenticeship programs that will train the youth, it’s a win-win for the city of Jacksonville.”

Lance Fout, president of the North Florida Building and Construction Trades Council, said the group supports the community benefit agreement and wants to see local people selected for the work.

“This is going to be the biggest project the city of Jacksonville has ever seen,” Fout said, “and we need to make sure that we have local contractors and people from the community working on those programs.”

Others pushed council members to require the Jags to contribute their half of the community benefits agreement on the same timetable as the city – $150 million over four years, as the city has vowed, rather than over 30 years, as the Jags have proposed.

“I do not support or oppose the community benefits agreement,” said Joann Tredennick. “What I do support is investing in our long-neglected neighborhoods in different areas of Jacksonville so that we don’t have a tale of two cities. And I do support presenting the proposed community benefit agreement – whatever it might look like – accurately, honestly, and with full financial transparency to the taxpayers.”

She said it’s misleading to say the Jaguars are matching the city’s contribution. 

“They’re not,” said Tredennick. “If the city is contributing $150 million in the first couple of years, and the Jaguars are contributing $5 million a year over 30 years… That’s not the same contribution.”

Council President Ron Salem said the council will decide this Thursday whether to pull the community benefits agreement out of the overall Jaguars stadium deal and vote on it separately.

Incoming Council President Randy White, who is expected to be sworn into the leadership position on Thursday, said he aims to file an amendment to the stadium deal legislation. Details remained unclear as of Monday night, and no agenda had yet been posted for Thursday’s meeting.

White said he will speak more on his amendment Thursday, but he might want to separate everything from the benefits agreement except for the parks funding.

He said the rest of the funding can be worked out after the upcoming council break.

“I’ll form a special committee or maybe we can do it within the committees that we already have,” said White.

At least 61 additional people also added their names to a list of supporters but did not wish to address the government body, according to City Councilman Chris Miller, who read their names into the record.

Overall, maybe three people spoke against the deal.

The City Council is expected to meet on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at City Hall. The meeting can be live streamed here.

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Casmira Harrison is a Jacksonville Today reporter focusing on local government in Duval County.

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