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Community members react to possible Doak Campbell Stadium funding from Blueprint

Posted at 12:27 AM, Feb 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-21 00:44:41-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — If the Blueprint board votes yes to giving Florida State $20 million in tax dollars for Doak Campbell Stadium upgrades. Leon County Commissioner Kristin Dozier says there will not be much money left to fund other economic stimulus opportunities.

"Setting aside more than $26 million for one project and leaving us with $722,000 over the next seven years will really limit our opportunity to boost our economy," said Dozier. "All of us support the university. I don't think the project at Doak is a bad one, it is necessary. What we're talking about is what the funds were intended for and how to get the best investment for our community and create more jobs."

Funding for the project will come in at around $127 million. $100 million will come from Seminole Boosters, $20 million from Blueprint and nearly $7 million will be interest on the $20 million dollars the agency will have to borrow as it continues to collect on tax dollars.

The more than 70 year-old stadium needs new safety compliance and accessibility upgrades that include things like more handicap accessible parking and seating, new hand rails and emergency lighting.

The debate over funding has brought community members together to talk about solving some of the biggest issues families face in Leon County. Max Epstein hosted a community conversation Sunday to talk about how that money could be used to address challenges in the county.

"That includes affordable housing, helping the homeless, and creating permanent jobs," said Epstein. "And not just low paying jobs, but jobs that have training and pay a decent wage."

For Full Press Apparel owner Danny Shrine, when it to comes to Blueprint making that decision, it's all about being consistent. He points to the $10 million dollars approved for upgrades to Florida A&M University's Bragg stadium.

"Why did we vote as a community through Blueprint to fund Bragg Stadium, and now through the same funding, we don't want to spend it on Doak Campbell. We either should invest in sports tourism and stadium upgrades, or we should not," said Shrine.

The stadium is expected to have a $102 million upgrade, along with creating 250 temporary jobs. Even still, Epstein says more needs to be done.

"We have lots of poor communities and neighborhoods where this money could be going," said Epstein.