Thank you for supporting JSU’s vision for a domed stadium
April 10th, 2013 by jacksonstate
To JSU Friends:
I want to thank all who “think big” and have supported our domed stadium concept. We have received support from so many individuals and groups, including the City of Jackson, the Hinds County Board of Supervisors, the Jackson Chamber of Commerce, the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau, the JSUNAA, the Blue Bengals, the Tiger Fund and six neighborhood associations. Yes, the domed stadium will be ours, but it’s also a game changer for the City of Jackson, Hinds County, region and the entire state. This project can change the perceptions of Mississippi and HBCUs. Everyone wins with the domed stadium.
Recently, state legislators debated amongst themselves about the merits of the dome and decided not to support our dream at this time. We asked for $75 million toward the $200 million domed stadium. The rest of the costs would be covered with private and other public dollars in the form of bonds. The discussion continues, and we have been asked to come back next year for funding.
Some interesting facts were revealed during the debate. The Legislature confirmed that all of Mississippi’s public universities have an on-campus stadium, each jumpstarted with state funding. JSU is the only institution without a stadium on campus. Also, the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University have been receiving permission for years to keep the 7 percent amusement tax on every ticket sold for events. That revenue has funded additional growth and support for our sister institutions. JSU has lost out on millions of dollars over the years from the amusement tax alone.
JSU has been promised by various legislators and governors for over 40 years that state support will be provided for an on-campus stadium. Upon my arrival at JSU, I also received similar assurances from some lawmakers, particularly when we became the owners of the Mississippi Memorial Veterans Stadium. I cannot express the disappointment I feel at this moment regarding state support of the stadium. A few legislators even voiced support for funding a domed stadium, but they wanted to place the stadium at the Mississippi Coliseum site and call it the Capital Dome. They would allow us to play our games there and serve on an oversight committee. I rejected that concept as it usurped all of our work, failed to place the stadium on JSU’s campus, and stripped us of ownership.
The stadium’s potential is undeniable. An economic impact study showed the stadium would generate $64.6 million annually in tax revenue. In the first year of construction, the project would produce a $64.8 million increase in personal income and generate $7.22 million for the state’s General Fund. The first year of construction would generate 1,835 jobs. The second year of construction would generate 600 jobs. Over the next 10 years of the stadium’s operation, an estimated 335 jobs would be maintained annually.
So where do we go from here? We are continuing our drive for the domed stadium. Yes, it would have been easier to gain outside private support already having a small amount of support from the legislators. But we’re undeterred. My stadium team continues to explore other options. We also can go back to the state next year. We will be creating a website for the stadium, which will provide information and answer additional questions.
We need your support as we push forward. You can help by buying season tickets to the upcoming football and basketball seasons to help dispel the myth that all we need is a 25,000-seat stadium. Remember that most of the year with a domed stadium, other entities will use the facility, bringing new and desirable levels of amusement and entertainment options to the citizens of our city, county, and state.
You also can donate to support this cause or any campus program you choose, as donations demonstrate overall support of JSU, and funding entities like to see such support. Encourage the corporations and companies that you lead or work for to market at our games. Finally, give us your ideas and speak positively about the project.
Again, thank you for dreaming big. I’ll keep fighting to make this domed stadium a reality. I hope you’ll join me.
Carolyn W. Meyers, Ph.D.