JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Eager Jaguars fans and community members attended another “Huddle up Jax” meeting to learn more about the proposed stadium renovations and developments in surrounding areas.
Some of the chatter at the fourth of 14 meetings concerned building a University of Florida graduate campus on the fairgrounds.
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday set aside $75 million for a new satellite campus in Jacksonville when he signed the state’s record $117 billion budget.
Jacksonville Jaguars President Mark Lamping discussed how the stadium project will include developments in the surrounding area near the stadium.
He also mentioned how he hopes one of the developments includes the UF graduate building, something he and team owner Shad Khan have both made clear that they were interested in.
“We’d love to see it at the fairgrounds property because we think the impact it will have there will be significant not only in terms of the Outeast neighborhood beyond that but also helping spur development from the Eastside,” Lamping said.
Christopher Holder is a long-time Jags fan and season ticket holder who was one of many who packed into Mellow Mushroom.
“This huddle was very interesting, actually,” Holder said. “It was good to come out and see what people’s thoughts are in reference to the stadium of the future.”
The questions ranged from: how will the renovations impact season ticket holders to who’s going to foot the bill for the billion-dollar upgrade?
“I am so appreciative to be able to have attended this particular session on the new stadium. I was excited by it. I’m encouraged by it. I just hope we as citizens of Jacksonville get our full due as it relates to the benefits from this stadium,” Vanessa Cullins Hopkins said.
Some in the audience questioned why the money required for the project couldn’t be better spent on the city’s underserved population.
One attendee talked about addressing the homeless issues in the city.
Lamping said he understands where the concerns are coming from.
“Yes, because there was a guy who was saying we have homeless people and homeless veterans instead of taking the million dollars, billion dollars to build this, let’s put it out to try to help the homeless veterans and people in Jacksonville,” Lamping said.
There were also a few updates on the future meetings announced.
The next huddle meeting will be Friday, June 16 at Xtreme Wings Sports Grille on 6337 Roosevelt Boulevard from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Monday’s meeting on June 19 will be held at Bishop Snyder High School on 5001 Samaritan Way from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.