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Stadium deal between City of Jacksonville, Jaguars includes significant investment in the Eastside

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The City of Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Jaguars’ “Stadium of the Future” will be impacting local neighborhoods – specifically the Historic Eastside.

It’s one of the oldest African American neighborhoods in Jacksonville, dating back to the late 1800s. The Jags and the city are proposing to offer this area, also known as Out East, more than $100 million as part of the stadium renovations deal.

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“When Historic Eastside benefits, so does the whole city,” Out East resident Ariane Randolph said.

The $1.4 billion stadium deal presented Tuesday night at City Council includes a Community Benefits Agreement of $150 million each from the Jags and the City of Jacksonville.

Read: $1.7 billion Jaguars Stadium deal unveiled, but some aspects are immediately generating pushback

And they are prioritizing the Historic Eastside neighborhood – dedicating a total of $105 million.

“That neighborhood, which is right next to the stadium, has been underserved for generations, and quite honestly, we think that we need to be a catalyst do what we can with others to solve that,” Jaguars President Mark Lamping said.

Read: Mayor Deegan defends claim of whopping $26B stadium economic impact; ‘Over estimated’ says expert

Randolph is a 4th generation family member of Out East and has lived in the neighborhood for about 16 years. She says this has been a long time coming.

“Through the 80s, and all the things that happened during that time, this was one of the communities that was disinvested,” Randolph said. “This was one of the communities that was ignored. ... But here we are today, and this is the opportunity to make some of that right.”

But they’ve already been putting in the work – before this stadium deal. The city, the Jags, and organizations like Lift Jax have been investing in the Out East – revitalizing the businesses on A. Philip Randolph Blvd and working on housing projects.

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Lift Jax President David Garfunkel said these new dollars will help continue that work – especially in creating affordable housing.

“The fact that we are talking about over $100 million of investment in the Historic Eastside is a real accomplishment,” Garfunkel said. “The concerns about gentrification and displacement have been true in this neighborhood for years, and neighborhood leaders have been working tirelessly, really, for several years alongside committed partners from outside to address those concerns.”

Randolph said she is hopeful these investments and the work opportunity that comes with the stadium will help establish a place people can be proud of.

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“Where people can support their families is also the place that people can call home and they can build community,” Randolph said.

Randolph said it’s a win-win for residents Out East.

The Community Benefits Agreement also has money going towards downtown parks and the county for workforce development and affordable housing.

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