NE Fla. lawmakers support EverBank improvements

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Everbank Field (above) and the Jacksonville Veteran's Memorial Arena are among the 7 facilities the city contracts SMG to manage.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The 16 state legislators representing nine northeast Florida counties have announced their support House and Senate bills providing a state sales tax rebate to fund improvements at EverBank Field.

Members of both parties unanimously support House Bill 721 and Senate Bill 922, according to Rep. Travis Cummings, R-Orange Park.

EverBank Field, constructed in 1995, is the home of the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars and hosts the Gator Bowl, the annual Florida-Georgia game, and numerous other sporting and entertainment events like this weekend's Monster Jam.

"As a Clay County resident who attends every Jaguars home game and the Florida-Georgia game, the regional importance of this facility can't be overstated," said Sen. Rob Bradley, R- Fleming Island -- sponsor of the senate bill. "I have made it a priority to help ensure the long-term viability of the First Coast as a nationally recognized sports and entertainment region."

Since 1995, two-thirds of the NFL's franchises have moved into brand new facilities and most others have made sizable renovations.

"I had the honor of supporting the maintenance efforts of EverBank Field for many years as a member of the Jacksonville City Council and I'm excited to help carry the flag in the Florida House of Representatives," said Rep. Daniel Davis, R-Jacksonville -- sponsor of the house bill.

Sen. Audrey Gibson (D-Jacksonville), a longtime advocate of widespread use of this publicly-owned facility, who represents the district where Everbank Field lies, added "I applaud the creative efforts of the Jaguars in making the NFL an affordable experience, attracting more residents and families. All deserve a safe and well-maintained environment to enjoy these events. This bill will go a long way towards continuing that goal and I am happy to lend my support."

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