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EverBank Field dog park: Only fans with paws can enter

It started as an idea that was “a little bit tongue in cheek”, when the Jacksonville Jaguars and Pet Paradise were looking at how to partner to give fans a great game day experience.

But both parties soon decided that the potential and impact of bringing a dog park to EverBank Field was no joke. 

“The first time it’s ever been done at an NFL stadium,” says Pet Paradise President and CEO Fernando Acosta-Rua. 

WOKV first told you Thursday, when the Jags announced a dog park would be coming to the stadium. Now, we’re learning more about how exactly that will work. 

Acosta-Rua says the plan is for a “mini Pet Paradise”, which includes trained staff, a vet, a pool, and more. The park will have a capacity of around 30 dogs, so if you want to share game day with your four-legged friend, you will need to reach out to Pet Paradise in advance. 

Acosta-Rua says they plan to screen each dog ahead of time to make sure they are current on shots, healthy, and good with crowds, noise, fireworks, and other elements of the stadium environment. The screening will be done by Pet Paradise staff, at no charge to the pet owner. Once cleared, you’re welcome to bring your dog by. 

“They [dog owners] can either stay around and watch, and watch the game from that level, or they can go down to their seats, watch the game, and then come back up after the game and pick up their pets and leave,” he says. 

The bad news for random dog lovers- this is not open for just anyone to come in. For the safety of the dogs, only Pet Paradise employees will be in the park itself. However, Acosta-Rua says the park is going to be easily viewable on the South End Zone fan deck, for everyone to enjoy. 

“Anybody up there will be able to watch and be part of that activity, but not be in the activity,” he says. 

10 THINGS TO KNOW: Recapping the Jags “State of the Franchise”

It’s still being determined if there will be any fee to use the park, but Acosta-Rua says their main objective at that location is not to make revenue, but to serve the customer- so if there is a charge, it will be minimal. That largely depends on the services they decide to offer at the park, and how those will be packaged. 

One package Acosta-Rua says they already know will be available is the “Duval Dog of the Week”. He says every week they will take nominations and open it up to voting. The winning dog and owner will get tickets to the game and VIP treatment, and the dog will even get some time on the video boards in the stadium. 

The end goal of both Pet Paradise and the Jags, according to Acosta-Rua, was something innovative and customer centric. 

“A really cool experience for Jags fans and for the community in general,” he says. 

The park will be open by the first preseason game. The Jags say the attraction will be entirely privately funded.

10 things to know: Jags State of the Franchise

The Jacksonville Jaguars “State of the Franchise” was packed with new information about the fan experience, stadium, Downtown development and more.

1. New season, new look- The Jags have unveiled their new uniforms, which are designed to honor tradition. The two-tone helmets are gone, in favor of a shine-finished traditional look, and the numbering is more simple and modern. The uniforms also have features, like increased ventilation around sweat areas, which are aimed at giving the team a competitive advantage. 

GALLERY: New uniforms for the Jacksonville Jaguars

For the first time, the team has teal pants- and teal will now be the “Color Rush” uniform, instead of the gold ones the Jags have been using in prior years. Teal is also the alternate uniform, and expected to be worn several times over the season. 

2. Cheaper concession options- Concession “classics” will now be only $5 at the stadium. These include hot dogs, nachos, pretzels, fries, and soft drinks. Fans will also still be allowed to bring in food, in accordance with the team’s policy and the NFL’s clear bag rule. 

3. Your dog can now cheer for the cats- Among the changes inside of the stadium, the Jags are building a dog daycare/park in partnership with Pet Paradise. This will be on the South End Zone fan deck, will have a water feature, and will only be open on gamedays. Dogs will be pre-screened to ensure they are up to date on shots and have the right temperament for this environment. Fans will be able to see the action inside of the park, but only trained staff will be in with the dogs themselves. 

4. Expect a crowd- Tarps will NOT be back at EverBank Field, meaning there are about 3,500 additional tickets being sold every game. There are also a handful of new premium seating options the team rolled out, which they say have already been snatched up. The Jags are also projecting their highest season ticket renewal rate and new season ticket sales, since they started tracking that in 2004. 

5. Honoring the military- The team emphasized that veterans and members of the military are not only important to the City of Jacksonville, but to the Jags themselves. The Jags have the highest concentration of veterans in market, compared to other NFL markets. To celebrate that, the North End Zone fan deck is being rebranded in partnership with the veteran-owned business Grunt Style. In addition to creating a competition area for fans and a “hometown pride” area, this is also where the team will celebrate a veteran of the game and veteran business owner of the game, and ring the fourth quarter bell. 

6. London will keep calling- The Jags are proud of being the team that has played the most London games of any other in the NFL. They said that game is valuable strategically and in terms of revenue, and they will work on protecting their position. Meanwhile, the UK fan club continues to grow, now standing at more than 86,000 members. 

The Jags play the Eagles in London on October 28th at 9:30AM. 

7. TIAA Bank going beyond the stadium- We got our first look at the new signage we’ll see at the stadium, as EverBank Field becomes “TIAA Bank Field” before the next football season, but TIAA Bank also announced a pledge to help the community. 

The Jaguars and EverBank- which is becoming TIAA Bank- are launching the One Team. One Home. Initiative. They’re partnering to contribute $1 million in the next five years to help build and repair homes in Northeast Florida. This will be a collaboration with Habitat for Humanity affiliates, as well as volunteers and Jags players. EverBank is also pledging additional money to build and repair 100 homes in Florida where TIAA has an existing presence. 

8. Lynyrd Skynyrd planning a big homecoming- The band will bring their farewell tour to EverBank Field on September 2nd. They’ll be joined by Kid Rock, Jason Aldean, and others, in a day-long event that also includes food trucks and games. 

9. Sports Complex development- The team is still negotiating a redevelopment of the Jacksonville Shipyards, but they’re now expanding on that by pitching a $2.5 billion redevelopment in the Sports Complex. The first step is expected to be Lot J- which could see three mixed-use buildings and a “live arena”. To compensate for the loss in parking, a 3,000 space parking garage would go up where there’s currently a retention pond. 

The team says this would be a public/private partnership, but they don’t have an estimate yet on what they would ask for from the City. 

GALLERY:Shipyards redevelopment

If the Hart Bridge ramps are taken down- which is something the City is currently pursuing- the Jags and their partner The Cornish Companies would seek to continue developing, with a high-end hotel, convention center, upgraded marina and more along the River. 

10. A big schedule faces the team in 2018- Technically, this came out after the State of the Franchise, but in the spirit of all this Jags news, it’s also worth mentioning that the team’s schedule is out!

Let us know what you think of the announcements on Facebook:

Lynyrd Skynyrd to play EverBank Field as part of farewell tour

Lynyrd Skynyrd is planning a big homecoming as part of their farewell tour.

Johnny Van Zant and Rickey Medlocke announced at EverBank Field Thursday that the band will play the stadium September 2nd,  along with Kid Rock, Jason Aldean, and others.

“We’re gunna rock the house here, let’s fill the tilt,” Van Zant says.

They said they knew they wanted to stop in Jacksonville on their “Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour”, but they’re especially excited to be able to come to the stadium.

“I said ‘Hey- the Jags and Skynyrd, c’mon’,” Van Zant says.

The concert is a day-long event, which will also include food trucks, games, and more.

“I am so proud of this town,” Medlocke says.

Tickets go on sale to the general public Monday, April 30th at 10AM. The only other Florida stops announced for the tour so far are West Palm Beach on May 4th and Tampa May 5th.

Honoring tradition: Jags showcase new uniforms

Teal is still not a primary color in the Jags new uniform scheme, but it’s more prominent and just one way they’re seeking to honor the team’s history in the new design.

The Jaguars new “Color Rush” uniform will be head-to-toe teal, instead of the gold they’ve been wearing prior years. This is also the first time the team has teal pants, which can be worn at any time. The teal jersey is the official alternate uniform, which is expected to be worn several times over the season.

GALLERY:New uniforms for the Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars President Mark Lamping says there was a few reasons they didn’t make teal a primary color, including that tastes can change. Even more than that, though, they wanted to make sure the teal kept its power.

“If you wore them all the time, they’d be a little less special,” he says.

The two-tone helmet is gone, in favor of the shine-finished traditional style. There is an elevated “JAX” by the forehead, which the team says shows the connection to the community, and elevated “JAGUARS” at the nape. The uniform also features the Jags logo on the players’ hearts.

The numbers are bold and modern, which is supposed to pay homage as well to prior uniforms. The end goal, according to the team, was no-nonsense, classic Jags.

“They’re classic, they’re simple, they’re powerful, they’re agile, they’re winning,” says Jaguars owner Shad Khan.

There are also a lot of features in the Nike uniforms designed for the benefit of the players, including removing front seams to improve mobility and create fewer grab points for the opposing team. The uniforms are also lighter than the industry standard, which will help players stay cool, and they’re designed to repel water. Additionally, there are new mesh patches over major “sweat zones”, like behind the knee, to provide some ventilation.

GALLERY: New Jacksonville Jaguars uniforms

Jags unveil $2.5 billion plan for Sports Complex development

An upgraded marina, exposition space, mixed-use entertainment buildings, and more.

It’s all part of the new redevelopment proposal put forward by the Jacksonville Jaguars, during their annual “State of the Franchise” event. The team estimates the total plan to be a $2.5 billion investment.

Overall, the plan includes a high-end hotel, convention center and hotel, park, and much more. They also envision moving the Veterans Memorial Wall to a more prominent place in a veterans park along the St. Johns River, but that would only happen with the consent and support of the military community and community at large.

To get to that, though, the team says the elevated Hart Bridge ramps need to come down.

"The great redevelopment potential that that will unlock- the ambition and the scope of the development on the banks of the St. Johns River will be significantly greater if those lanes get back to grade,” says Jaguars President Mark Lamping.

Until then, the focus will be specifically Lot J.

The now-parking lot could be the destination for three large mixed-use buildings and a “live arena”. Lamping says the market will dictate what goes in the buildings, but they’re planning for office, hotel, and possibly residential space. Street-level,  there would be retail and shops. To make up for the loss of a parking lot, Lamping says they’re planning to build a roughly 3,000 space parking garage where the retention pond is currently. While there are concerns about the land underneath that, Lamping says they’ve already been doing testing and he’s confident they can work around what they find.

Lamping says this would be a multi-year commitment. He says it would be a public/private partnership, although it’s unclear at this time how much they will ask for from the City. The total investment on the broader plan is believed to be more than $2 billion.

Lamping says this proposal is an expansion of the Shipyards proposal they previously put forward. They won the right to redevelop that property almost exactly a year ago, but the negotiations are still ongoing.

"A really vibrant new neighborhood that contributes not only to the quality of life of Jacksonville, but also contributes to the economic strength of Downtown Jacksonville,” he says.

GALLERY: Shipyards redevelopment proposal

Activating the area around the stadium is not only important for the City, though.

“I think this is absolutely paramount for the Jaguars to be stable in this area. The City has to grow, and we’ve got to have energy around the stadium and in the stadium, especially on game days,” says Jags owner Shad Khan.

And from there, they say things could really boom.

"For a neighborhood like this to be successful and to really transform Downtown, it starts with jobs. So everything we do, we need to focus really hard on bringing jobs to this part of Downtown. And if we're successful in terms of this activity, you would expect it to bleed towards Downtown. And with all the other exciting stuff happening in Downtown, that could bleed towards the Sports Complex, and we'll get close to realizing the full potential that Downtown Jacksonville represents,” Lamping says.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry says the idea behind the proposal is “visionary”. He is open to a financial commitment from the City, but says he will put that proposal through his scorecard to ensure there will be a return for the citizens of Jacksonville. He further says the City is working on a federal grant for the Hart Bridge ramp project, after recently bringing in $12.5 million from the State.

The Jags are partnering with The Cordish Companies in this proposal.

Dog park, other changes coming to EverBank Field

The home of the Jacksonville Jaguars will now be the first NFL stadium to have a dog park.

During the annual “State of the Franchise” event, Jaguars President Mark Lamping announced the team is partnering with Pet Paradise to bring a dog daycare to the South End Zone fan deck. It will include a water feature.

Lamping says this will only be open on game days, and they are not seeking public funding to make the attraction happen.

The North End Zone fan deck is changing as well- the Jags are partnering with veteran-owned business Grunt Style, to bring all of the military commemorations the team does each game, in to the same area.

The deck will now be where the veteran business owner of the game and veteran of the game are honored, as well as where the fourth quarter bell is rung. They’re also adding in military themes throughout the deck, creating a “hometown pride” area, and designating a zone where fans can compete with each other.

The stadium itself is seeing some upgrades as well.

WOKV previously told you that EverBank Field will be renamed TIAA Bank Field ahead of the upcoming football season. Thursday gave us our first idea of what the signage will look like.

Another game day fan enhancement is at the concession stand. The Jags now have $5 “classics”- hot dogs, fries, nachos, pretzels, and soft drinks. Last season, if you bought one of each, it cost you $32. Now, that would run you $25.

The tarps will not be back for the 2018 season. Team leadership says it’s a big win for the team psychologically to not have to tent off 3,500 seats, and they also recognized during the home playoff game when the venue was sold out, that it gives them an incredible home field advantage to have that full stadium rocking.

13-year-old boy running for governor of Vermont

The state that produced the oldest man ever to run for president now has the youngest person ever to run for governor.

>> Read more trending news

Bernie Sanders turned 75 two months before the 2016 presidential election. Ethan Sonneborn is 13 and an eighth-grader who is running for governor.

Now.

There is no minimum age to run for governor in Vermont, so Sonenborn is officially the youngest candidate for that office in state history, CNN reported.

Sonneborn is running as a Democrat and will face two other candidates in the party’s primary election in August. The winner will face incumbent Gov. Phil Scott, 59, a Republican.

The teen’s platform will focus on stricter gun control legislation an issue he has stressed since announcing his candidacy in 2017, CNN reported.

"I'll admit when I first heard about a 13-year-old running, I thought, 'Is this some kid from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, spoiled?' But that's not the case," Vermont Democratic Party Executive Director Conor Casey told CNN. "Ethan really did embrace the gun issue early on. He's representing younger people and he's been a good voice for them."

Sonneborn admitted that hunting is an important part of life in New England.

"It's a culture that I respect," he said. "But if it's making the decision between letting my friends have a good time at a firing range and them possibly being involved in a school shooting, I'm choosing legislation to protect them from that school shooting."

Sonneborn said he has met Scott, who told him his gubernatorial bid is "very cool," CNN reported.

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