TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – Intergovernmental agency Blueprint voted nine to three on Thursday night to advance the process to fund repairs to Doak Campbell Stadium.
Ahead of Thursday’s meeting, protests outside city hall pushed back the use of local sales tax money for repairs to Doak Campbell Stadium.
FSU is considering a $ 120 million stadium improvement project and has asked Blueprint for $ 20 million to be used for infrastructure repairs.
About 20 people attended the LA protest outside ahead of the meeting, arguing that Doak’s repairs were not a good use of sales tax dollars. Instead, the group wanted other Blueprint projects, such as fairground improvements or sidewalks along Tharpe Street, to be placed at the top of the list.
âI was here to vote on the original Blueprint sales tax for transportation. And a football stadium is not a means of transport, âsaid Joe Lama, a resident of Tharpe Street.
“I want to know how many of these dollars are going to make a block south of Gaines Street.” Because we don’t see football games that contribute to economic development on the south side, âsaid Max Epstein, member of Stand Up Tallahassee.
According to the agenda item, in 2018, FSU’s home football matches brought in $ 99.9 million to the community.
Seminole Booster President and CEO Michael Alford discussed the project with WCTV on Tuesday and explained that while FSU is working to raise $ 100 million for the project, they are only asking Blueprint for $ 20 million.
FSU football coach Mike Norvell also spoke to the fundraising commissioners.
âI understand the challenges we have here in Tallahassee, and I hear them. And I want to be part of a program that makes a difference, âNorvell said.
Alford and FSU basketball coach Leonard Hamilton also spoke to the commissioners to ask for the funding.
The commissioners discussed the matter for over an hour.
Mayor John Dailey started the discussion, declaring his strong support. He also stressed that this was not an award vote, but rather the start of the process for a full review.
âThe return on investment is solid, it has been proven,â said Mayor John Dailey. “Are you supporting the state of Florida or not?” I support the university.
County commissioners Nick Maddox and Jimbo Jackson were also in favor.
âThe increase in the number of people who come to our games increases the likelihood that they will spend money in our community,â said Commissioner Nick Maddox. “The economic impact will offset some of these funds and be spent in some of the communities where the majority of people look like me.”
âHe’s a good community partner. It’s an organization that gives back to our community, and it doesn’t just build beds, it provides sales dollars, it provides jobs for the people who live in 32304 and 32301, âsaid Commissioner Jimbo Jackson .
County commissioner Kristin Dozier stressed that this money is for economic development, not infrastructure.
âWe do other things through infrastructure. It is a unique opportunity that the community has given us.
However, she added that she could not support the motion.
âThe purpose of this organization, of OEV, is to diversify our economy,â Dozier said.
County commissioner Carolyn Cummings supported the funding.
I support the initiative they have launched. It goes without saying that FSU is one of the main economic drivers here. It confirms that we want to keep our smart young men and women here, âCummings said.
City Commissioner Jack Porter was against the funding.
âI am a proud Seminole. I moved to Tallahassee; FSU was my introduction to the city, âPorter said. âI cannot support this funding as much as I would like; I just think our taxpayers’ money is far too precious to spend on crown property. “
City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow agreed with her, raising concerns that the Blueprint 2020 sales tax has just started to be collected.
âEvery monetary request we receive not only asks us for taxpayer money, but asks us to pull out a credit card,â Matlow said.
County commissioner Brian Welch said he was in favor of this specific funding.
âI criticized the convention center project because I don’t think people want to come to Tallahassee for conventions. I think people want to come to Tallahassee for soccer games, âWelch said.
City Commissioner Curtis Richardson supported the funding and echoed Dozier’s comments on the specific use of these dollars.
âNone of this can be done with this $ 20 million,â said Richardson. âIt’s for economic development.
Blueprint President and City Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox was last to speak and supported the investment.
âI think it’s important that we also support Florida State University. We have to make sure that jobs, stores and restaurants are able to employ people, âsaid Williams-Cox.
The vote was taken with the following distribution:
In favor: Cummings, Jackson, Maddox, Minor, Proctor, Welch, Dailey, Richardson, Williams-Cox.
Against: Dozier, Matlow, Porter
The motion also ended negotiations for the Florida State Convention Center.
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