JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — City leaders are weighing in on the initial proposal for a renovated Jaguars stadium and a new entertainment district.
Action News Jax spoke with four of the 19 councilmembers Thursday and reactions were mixed.
With a starting ask of a billion dollars from the city, the Jaguars’ proposed stadium renovations could end up being one of the most expensive votes members of Jacksonville’s city council ever cast.
“We are the Bold New City of the South. So, this is a bold move,” Councilmember Matt Carlucci (R-Group 4 At-Large) said.
A bold move that will likely require some bold vetting, added Councilmember Kevin Carrico (R-District 4).
“I’m really interested in seeing the breakdown of that. What is it really going toward and if that’s even the number,” Carrico said.
Council President-designate Ron Salem (R-Group 2 At-Large) said he was surprised to see the proposed UF grad campus and entertainment district reminiscent of the failed Lot-J plan incorporated into the stadium renovation … Not to mention the sticker shock.
“That’s a tall ask for us without other sources of revenues or other innovative ways of funding this,” Salem said.
Hammering out the details of a deal will be Mayor-elect Donna Deegan’s (D-Jacksonville) burden to bear.
The four councilmembers we spoke with universally applauded her decision to name former State Representative Mike Weinstein as the first member of her team that will work on the deal.
“He was involved, you know, from the very beginning when we had a football team,” Councilmember Ju’Coby Pittman (D-District 8) said.
Carrico added Weinstein has a proven track record of negotiating deals on behalf of Jacksonville taxpayers.
“He’s been the CFO of the city. His resume reads like he’s perfect for this job,” Carrico said.
Whatever the final deal looks like, the council members we spoke with agreed it will have to make sense for taxpayers.
Pittman added she also wants to make sure it benefits current Eastside residents and businesses.
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“There are businesses that have been there for years, and they deserve an opportunity for economic development,” Pittman said.
Mayor-elect Deegan’s team hasn’t said much about the proposal just yet.
On Thursday, a staffer indicated that likely won’t change until her team further vets the Jags’ initial ask.