At its last meeting on Dec. 10, the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency Board approved resolutions and other documents for $10.055 million in bank loan financing to make repairs and improvements to FAMU’s Bragg Memorial Stadium.
Staff reports that Bragg Memorial Stadium is in need of structural repairs before it can be fully used. The 2020-2021 FAMU football season has already been canceled due to the pandemic, but staff reports that the stadium in its current state may not be able to be used for future football seasons, likely resulting in a negative impact to the local economy and tourism industry.
Moving forward with the repairs is expected to create 166 jobs—66 direct construction jobs and 100 others–providing $7.7 million in wages.
The $10 million commitment will come from the economic development portion of the Office of Economic Vitality’s (OEV) sales tax proceeds.
“An additional $55,000 was added to the loan amount to cover cost of borrowing to ensure FAMU received the full $10 million commitment,” staff reports. “The cost to service the debt (principal and interest) on this amount is approximately $11,524,127, financed by the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency through a bank loan over a 15 year term. Interest over the 15 year period is estimated to be $1,469,127.”
The board voted 11-1 to approve the financing, with County Commissioner Kristin Dozier dissenting. Dozier expressed concerns about the board’s quick speed of making the decision and whether the repairs could be funded from a different source.
“From my perspective, OEV funds, which is 12% of our sales tax over 20 years, we have to be very strategic with it,” Dozier said.
Along with the resolutions and a memorandum of understanding with FAMU, the board also approved a budget amendment that will enable the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency to pay the loan’s first interest payment.