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Blueprint IA votes to look into funding repairs at FAMU’s Bragg Memorial Stadium

Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 8:50 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - City and County Commissioners discussed a funding request of $10 million from Florida A & M University, for repairs to Bragg Memorial Stadium; the item was on the Blueprint IA agenda for Thursday.

FAMU President Dr. Robinson was also part of the virtual meeting to speak about the agenda item.

Dr. Robinson told Commissioners that any repairs would be an investment in the Southside of Tallahassee, which would benefit the entire community. He says the COVID-19 testing site is a perfect example; by the end of the day on Thursday, 19,000 people have been tested in that spot.

Commissioners had three options: (1) accept the report on the funding request for repairs at the Florida A&M university’s Bragg Memorial Stadium and take no further action, (2) direct staff to further explore the updated FAMU proposal, and once financial analysis is completed, bring back a report of full funding analysis with bond options, or (3) IA Board direction.

The vote was in favor of option 2, after more than an hour of discussion.

Most Commissioners supported lending a hand to FAMU, citing the University's contributions to the Tallahassee community.

Commissioner Bryan Desloge questioned whether any CARES Act funding that FAMU receives could go toward the project, but Dr. Robinson said the repairs are not directly COVID-related, so CARES Act funding is not an option. Desloge also questioned whether the state legislature could help with funding at all, but Dr. Robinson explained that state dollars cannot go toward athletics.

Commissioners were spurred to action by the time-sensitive nature of the request; repairs of the stadium, or lack of repairs, could affect the 2021 football season.

The vote was forced by a call to question.

The option Commissioners chose includes continuing engagement an collaboration with FAMU and receiving a CEFA analysis on the economic impacts of the stadium improvements. Blueprint staff will develop a project timeline, including planning, design, engineering, and construction. Staff will also determine key milestones for funding, “ensuring funds are allocated in accordance with IRS arbitrage rules for bond funding.”

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