- 2013 - September - 10th -

Jaguars ‘committed to Jacksonville’

from staff

Jacksonville Jaguars President Mark Lamping said Monday that team owner Shad Khan is committed to Jacksonville and expects government to return the courtesy.

Lamping issued a statement a day after what he called "a productive and encouraging meeting" between Khan and Gov. Rick Scott.

"Shad and the Jaguars are committed to a future for Jacksonville that will place and keep Jax in the discussion for world-class sports and entertainment events," Lamping said in the statement issued Monday.

"That commitment requires support at all levels, given the vast economic benefits to our city, region and state. We appreciated the invitation and look forward to additional discussions with Gov. Scott in the near future," Lamping's statement said.

Few details have been provided about the meeting, scheduled for 90 minutes Sunday night at the governor's mansion in Tallahassee.

Jim Woodcock, a spokesman for Khan, emailed Monday morning that the meeting was "outstanding."

"We were the guest of the governor and the discussion of economic development opportunities for the Jax region was outstanding," he said.

There's no word if the discussion focused on the Jaguars' request for city help with a $63 million upgrade at EverBank Field.

The city and the Jaguars announced in June they would jointly find a way to pay for the stadium improvements, including new scoreboards, but the City Council Finance Committee tabled the city's $43 million share because members wanted more details, including how to fund them.

The joint support was announced after the Legislature refused to direct state sales taxes into planned construction or upgrades at several sports venues, including EverBank Field.

Khan also has been investing in Jacksonville-area companies and redevelopment projects and has expressed interest in the vacant riverfront Shipyards property near EverBank Field.

Economic-development supporters also wait to see whether Khan, owner of the Flex-N-Gate auto-parts manufacturer based in Illinois, might set up a manufacturing or distribution center in the area.

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