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Dozens of people attend first community huddle for ‘Stadium of the Future’ to share thoughts

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Dozens of people came to the first community huddle for the Jaguars Stadium of the Future. Most of the feedback was positive, but there was some skepticism.

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Many people came out to Mandarin High School to learn more about the framework of the deal.

Mayor Donna Deegan, Jaguars President Mark Lamping and the city’s lead negotiator Mike Weinstein presented the deal highlighting why it’s a good one.

It’s a nearly two-billion-dollar project that many say they are excited about.

“I’m very excited about the potential deal,” Jacksonville resident Daniel Rumbach said. “I think the mayor and the Jaguars and Mike Weinstein did a great job negotiating and being transparent in the meeting today.”

During question and answer one man said something to the effect of, “There is a lot of growth protentional here in Jacksonville, and it will be the key to put Jacksonville on the map.”

RELATED: City of Jacksonville announces five community huddles in May on stadium deal

During question and answer, some people raised concerns about traffic, their season tickets, and their tax dollars.

“I think we need other things more and this is just to fund a private entertainment business,” Jacksonville resident Doug Dulaney said. “And Shad Khan is worth 12.2 billion dollars and I think he can pay for it himself.

The city and the Jags will be splitting the renovation portion 50/50 with each spending $625 million. The city will also put an extra $150 million for maintenance on the existing stadium.

“If Shad is going to split half the bill, I think we need to take him up on it,” Jacksonville resident Lance Fout said. “There are only 32 of these teams. If we have it, then we need to keep it

Some of the money is coming from taxpayer dollars that already exists through the half-penny sales tax set to go through 2030.

“We still have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars so we might as well partner with the Jaguars, spend the money wisely – get the most bang for the buck and keep the team that we love here, here,” Rumbach said.

The deal also includes the team and the city contributing another $150 million each for community development – going towards homelessness, affordable housing, workforce development and the downtown parks. And some of that money is going towards the Historic Eastside.

“I’m just I’m so happy to be able to bridge that gap with Jacksonville Jaguars, with the community, and with the city,” Historic Eastside resident Tellisa Robinson said.

Lamping says he is confident in the deal, and happy about the reaction tonight.

“What we heard tonight is no different than what we think the sentiment is throughout Jacksonville – there is a significant majority of people that want to see the Jaguars stay here, and they want to see the new stadium happen,” Lamping said.

The deal still has to get approved by city council before it goes up to the NFL to get their approval.

Tonight, was the first of five community huddles. The next one is tomorrow at the Legends Center.

READ: Here’s the schedule of Jacksonville’s ‘Stadium of the Future’ community huddles

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