Blueprint votes 7-5 to move forward with bond financing for Doak improvements

After an hour and a half of public comment and about two hours of discussion, the Blueprint...
After an hour and a half of public comment and about two hours of discussion, the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency voted to move forward with the bond financing for improvements to FSU’s Doak Campbell Stadium.(WCTV)
Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 8:03 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - After an hour and a half of public comment and about two hours of discussion, the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency voted to move forward with the bond financing for improvements to FSU’s Doak Campbell Stadium.

Mayor John Dailey, Mayor Pro Tem Curtis Richardson, City Commissioner Williams-Cox, Blueprint Chair Nick Maddox, County Commissioner Chair Bill Proctor, County Commissioner Jimbo Jackson, and County Commissioner Carolyn Cummings voted in favor of the financing.

City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow, City Commissioner Jack Porter, County Commissioner Kristin Dozier, County Commissioner Brian Welch, and County Commissioner Rick Minor voted against it.

Mayor John Dailey made the motion for the Doak funding; Commissioner Jimbo Jackson seconded it.

The agenda item included multiple other bond issues.

Commissioner Jeremy Matlow, who voted against the funding, asked Dailey if he would amend his motion to separate the Doak item.

“No, I’m interested in the up or down vote on the table,” Dailey said.

Matlow then discussed his opposition to the bond issue.

“I can’t support this motion for any of this because I think it’s violating the public’s trust for what they voted in, and it’s leaving us with no money,” Matlow said.

Commissioner Jackson spoke about the economic impact of FSU.

“The jobs available at football games and football stadiums and in construction are jobs and skills that residents and families in 32304 and 32310 are representative of,” Jackson said.

Other Commissioners disagreed about the return on investment.

“I think it’s bad policy to do this allocation to FSU,” Commissioner Welch said. “It won’t move the needle on our economy.”

“Simply put, the community does not support this,” Commissioner Porter said.

Public commenters had strong opinions on both sides.

“You have the option today to correct your action and heal our community by rescinding the award,” said one woman.

Another questioned why the funding was not going into people in need in the community, citing the difficulties she’s heard in finding affordable housing.

“Where’s our priority? Are we not looking out for the people?”

“We feel like the money could be better spent at this time on issues like business development, workforce development,” said David VanWilliams, a member of the Providence neigborhood.

FSU Athletic Director David Coburn spoke to Commissioners about the difficulty of fundraising for improvements.

“People are happy to give money to put their names on shiny new buildings, but replacement lighting and plumbing just don’t light em up,” he said.

FSU Basketball Coach Leonard Hamilton also spoke to Commissioners.

“Tallahassee is FSU. FSU is Tallahassee, vice versa,” Hamilton said. “I think we’re all in this together.”

One candidate for Leon County District 3, Damon Victor, spoke out against the funding.

“I feel like there are just so many opportunities to help so many people in our town with their businesses, and their people that are going to be working in those businesses, that it’s important to have that money available.”

The incumbent in that seat, Commissioner Rick Minor, was the sole Commissioner to change his vote from the September decision. He released a statement ahead of the meeting.

“Leon County citizens have spoken loudly and clearly, and I have heard them. At today’s Blueprint meeting, I will vote to rescind the $20 million that was designated for Doak’s infrastructure repairs.

"To be sure, Florida State is a vital partner with this community, and its future success is intertwined with our own. However, residents have made it clear they want to see these limited economic development funds invested in other ways.

"In our community, citizens CAN make a difference when speaking with their local elected officials, and this is a good example of that. I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to reach out and make their voice heard on this issue. It matters."

Rick Minor, Leon County Commissioner

Commissioner Kristin Dozier gave notice that she intends to make a motion to rescind the September decision at the February meeting. The motion to rescind would be for the September decision, rather than the December decision, because it would only deal with the Doak issue, rather than all of the projects being bonded.

“You will get a chance to consider this over the next couple months; all of us will,” Dozier said.

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