JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There were more people than seats available at Monday night’s Arlington meeting hosted by Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan.
The mayor’s community meetings have been drawing a lot of interest because it gives residents the opportunity to address important issues and express their concerns.
Residents like Rebecca Barlow said one of her interests for the mayor was road access to her neighborhood.
“Infrastructure’s a huge issue for us, especially in the community where I live,” Barlow said. “We are boxed in. There’s no clear in and out, and we’re curious to ask the mayor if they have any plans of opening the road.”
Allen Witcher, on the other hand, had another question for city leaders concerning a place to work out in Arlington.
“I want to know if they’re going to open this YMCA here,” Witcher said.
A few other issues brought up in the meeting were concerns about trash pickup, drivers speeding through neighborhoods and loud noise in the area.
“I think it’s important to know what’s happening in Arlington,” Janice Curry said.
Curry said she thinks these meetings are important because the former city council person used to host monthly town hall meetings.
“It was very informative and you can voice your opinion about what’s going on,” she said.
Things got a little heated when the topic switched to the new “Stadium of the Future” for the Jaguars.
As Deegan was discussing the issue of the stadium with community members, she said 80% of people don’t want taxpayer dollars to go toward a new stadium… while 80% of people also don’t want to lose the Jaguars.
The most concerning question about the estimated $1.4 billion price tag for the project is how is it going to be paid.
The Jaguars organization wants a 50% investment from the city of Jacksonville, promising it will benefit the surrounding area and the city.
Deegan said the city is trying to find a way to accommodate all parties in the deal.
“There is no reason why we can not walk and chew gum in this city at the same time,” she said.
Deegan said to those who criticize the idea of spending money on a new stadium that the NFL won’t put up with an old stadium.
“You are at a place now with the NFL where without renovations done, they’re not going to allow the Jaguars to remain here. That’s just how it is. But most of the people in this community would like the Jaguars to stay,” she said.
Deegan stood with local Councilman and former coworker Ken Amaro and told residents that one of her priorities in funding stadium upgrades is getting more money into struggling communities that haven’t got any investment in them for years.
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