Community benefits agreement split in two as Jags stadium deal steams towards approval Tuesday

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville City Council has moved to pushback consideration of $94 million of the city’s $150 million total share of the community benefits agreement in the Jags stadium deal.


The vote was 10-2 with seven members either having to abstain or not being present.

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The adoption of the amendment retains $56 million from the city for downtown parks in the main stadium deal.

Supporters argued the $94 million for the Eastside, homelessness, affordable housing, and workforce development needed more work.

“Rather than having some buckets, let’s actually dive into the details and let’s get the specifics, so we can actually help them out even more,” said Councilmember Raul Arias (R-District 11).

Councilmember Jimmy Peluso (D-District 7), who represents the Eastside, offered another amendment to keep the $30 million for the Eastside in the stadium deal.

RELATED: Jacksonville City Council to vote on the Community Benefits Agreement part of Jags stadium deal

He expressed concerns the funding could be watered down or delayed if it were to be pushed back.

“We’re leaving money on the table right now and there’s going to be a lot of people confused by this process,” said Peluso.

Council President Ron Salem (R-Group 2 At-Large) pushed back by pointing out that even if the Eastside funding were kept in the deal, spending wouldn’t actually start for another 15 months.

“We’re talking about taking some time this summer to work on this,” said Salem.

Peluso’s amendment was rejected, and council moved forward with the plan to retain downtown parks funding and revisit the remaining $94 million in July.

Salem committed to making Eastside funding his main priority moving forward.

“Maybe we can find some money in this year’s budget to start something even quicker than was in the CBA. We just gotta get through the process,” said Salem.

By keeping in $56 million for parks, the Jaguars plan to put in a total of $118 million for community benefits on the Eastside and riverfront parks.

Jaguars President Mark Lamping noted if the city follows through on its remaining $94 million share of the community benefits agreement, the team will honor its commitment to pitch in its full $150 million share.

“You know, we would hope that those dollars would go to those overall programs that are important to us, downtown development, supporting out east neighborhood,” said Lamping.

RELATED: Jags Stadium Deal: Amendment splitting community benefits agreement poised to pass Thursday

Council members will consider amendments to the stadium deal Friday, but Salem said he doesn’t expect any major changes.

“I don’t think they’re dealbreakers by any means. I think they’re fairly straightforward,” said Salem.

If all goes according to plan, the main stadium deal legislation will be passed Tuesday.

Separate legislation for the city’s remaining $94 million for the community benefits agreement will be introduced July 23 and a final vote on that package will be taken before the next NFL owners meeting on October 13th.

Lamping, who has been working on the deal for four years, told Action News Jax seeing the deal so close to the finish line is a reflection of Jags owner Shad Khan’s commitment to keep the franchise in Jacksonville for future generations.

“I think we’re on the verge of turning that goal into reality and, you know, for that I think the effort has been worth it,” said Lamping.

Council President Salem he’s hopeful the stadium renovation deal will pass when it comes up for a final vote Tuesday night.

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