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THE PLAYERS parking for Friday sells out

If you’re planning to attend THE PLAYERS on Friday and you don’t already have a parking pass, you’ll have to figure out another way to get to the tournament.

THE PLAYERS says general parking for Friday is sold out. If you don’t have a pass, you’re encouraged to use Uber, the Downtown shuttles, a cab, a bike, or a private parking lot in the area. There will not be any parking passes sold on site for the duration of the tournament. 

FAN GUIDE: What you need to know for THE PLAYERS 2018

All parking passes that were already sold will be honored. Tickets for the tournament action on Friday and parking passes for other days are still available. 

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If you plan to use Uber, the drop-off and pick-up point is 880 A1A North, in the Ponte Vedra shopping plaza. A shuttle will be provided from that location to the Couples Gate at TPC Sawgrass. In the Uber app, use “THE PLAYERS Championship” as your destination.

There is complimentary bike parking available from 7:30AM through the end of play. That parking is available at the Couples Entry off ATP Blvd or Gate B inside the Sawgrass Gates off PGA Tour Blvd.

Complimentary golf cart parking is also available at Gate B, inside the Sawgrass Gates off PGA Tour Blvd.

If you’re going to the tournament from Jacksonville, there are shuttles running from Downtown Thursday through Sunday.

Pick Up Times: 

Hyatt Regency Jacksonville – 

• 7:45 a.m. 

• 9:50 a.m. 

• 10:45 a.m. 

• 12:50 p.m. 

Hogan Street side of the Jacksonville Landing – 

• 8 a.m. 

• 9:30 a.m. 

• 11 a.m. 

• 12:30 p.m. 

DoubleTree Riverfront – 

• 8:15 a.m. 

• 9:15 a.m. 

• 11:15 a.m. 

• 12:15 p.m. 

Lexington Hotel – 

• 8:20 a.m. 

• 9:10 a.m. 

• 11:20 a.m. 

• 12:10 p.m. 

For the return trips Thursday through Saturday, the shuttles leave TPC Sawgrass at 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 5 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. Sunday shuttles will leave at those times as well, but have an additional 8 p.m. option.

Woman who kidnapped Jacksonville newborn: “My mindset at the time wasn’t logical”

Twenty years after she took a newborn from a Jacksonville hospital and brought the baby to South Carolina to raise as her own daughter, Gloria Williams is telling the court why.

Williams says she was in an abusive relationship with a man, Charles Manigo.

“He took me to a place that was dark. My soul, my spirit was broke, my heart was broke,” she says.

She says Manigo wanted her to have a baby, and she thought that would help bring peace to their home, so she ultimately got pregnant. Williams says she miscarried as a result of the stress of the abuse, but she didn’t initially know it, because her body continued to change. She prepared her home for a baby and even had a baby shower, before realizing what happened- but even after she got it medically confirmed, she didn’t tell anyone.

In July 1998, Williams says she was leaving work, when she essentially went in to autopilot, and instead of stopping at her home, she kept driving. She says she doesn’t know why she drove down I-95 from her home in South Carolina, or what she was  thinking when she ultimately got off the highway in Jacksonville.

“It was definitely not to take a baby, that’s for sure,” she says.

That blank slate continued as she walked in to the hospital.

“I really just cannot tell you what was on my mind. My head back then, I was a different person. My head was in a different place, I was just broken. I had a broken heart, I had a broken spirit, I didn’t feel good about myself, I didn’t feel good about anything,” she says.

Williams says she went and looked at the other babies and thought about the one she had lost, and then walked in to Shanara Mobley’s room, again telling the defense she wasn’t sure why.

Williams says she spent a lot of time talking with Mobley and helping her out. She was still wearing scrubs from her job, and while she told the prosecutor that she didn’t claim to be a nurse at the hospital, she admitted that she knew that’s what Mobley thought. Then the newborn, Kamiyah Mobley, was brought in to the room.

“I was thinking about, you know, maybe this baby could help Charles, that’s what I was thinking. It was like, she [Shanara] was so young, and she just wasn’t real sure about what she was gunna do, and just my mindset at that time wasn’t logical, it definitely wasn’t logical. But for what I was thinking at that time, it seemed right, it seemed right,” Williams says.

Williams would ultimately take the baby back to her home in South Carolina, renaming her Alexis Manigo, and telling Charles Manigo it was his baby. She says the baby did not bring peace to their home after all, though, and when she ultimately had a custody agreement with her two sons from a prior marriage changed because of the abuse, she decided to leave with Kamiyah as well.

“I just thought to myself, I can’t have him around her. I can’t do it, and she deserves better,” Williams says.

The defense walked Williams through a series of photos showing awards, celebrations and gatherings featuring Kamiyah while she was growing up. Williams further said Kamiyah was always cared for and provided for.

Things changed, when Kamiyah decided she wanted to start working. Williams says Kamiyah asked for her birth certificate and social security card, so she could finish all the paperwork on a job she had already lined up.

“I said, ‘you’re not my daughter’. I said, ‘I took you a long time ago’,” Williams says she told Kamiyah at that time.

Williams says she offered to turn herself in at that time, but Kamiyah told her not to. They went on another year and a half or so before the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office ultimately learned about Kamiyah and reached out.

“She wanted me to run. I told her I couldn’t do that, I couldn’t leave her, I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t have a life like that. I was already in this for too long, and the truth was going to come out,” Williams says.

Williams says she had thought often about bringing Kamiyah back, but couldn’t do it.

“I think fear, I think just crippling fear. And then I fell in love with her,” Williams says.

The prosecutor questioned Williams to show she made choices and decisions along the way, to lead to where we are now. Williams agreed that how this went is the “worst” possible outcome for Kamiyah, and that she could have even left her anonymously at a hospital at any point when the child was young. Upon questioning from the prosecution, Williams said her motivation for taking the baby was not out of concern for how Mobley would raise her, but for selfish reasons.

Despite that, she is asking for forgiveness from all parties involved, including from Kamiyah.

"I never meant to hurt you, I never meant to hurt you. I just love that child so and I never meant to hurt you, I never meant to cause you any harm, any pain, any of that. And I’m sorry, and I hope that you can find it in your heart to forgive me. I tried to love you the best way I could, the only way I could. I tried to nurture you, but nothing can take away what I took from you. Nothing can replace that. I will always love you, always. And the joy that you brought me, I thank God the world can’t take it away from me. But you're not mine. Your mother and father are sitting right here,” Williams says.

And to Kamiyah’s biological parents- Shanara Mobley and Craig Aiken- she apologized as well.

“I pray every day, every day for the good Lord to renew your hearts, renew your minds, and to heal your hearts, and to give you the peace and joy that comes from knowing His word. I can’t explain where I was back then 20 years ago, I know I wronged you, and I’m so sorry and so many days, so many days, so many days, so many days I just wanted to pick that child up and say, ‘C’mon, let’s get in this car and go’, I just couldn't. I couldn’t. When I left Jacksonville, I didn't look back, I didn't know what you went through,” she says.

Williams is facing up to 22 years in prison, after pleading guilty earlier this year to kidnapping and custody interference of the child. She says, if she’s allowed to return to society, she wants to help young girls who are in abusive relationships. She intends to return to South Carolina to live with her husband, who supports her.

The prosecutor asked Williams what penalty she thinks she deserves for what she did. She said she knows she needs to be punished for her crimes, but isn’t able to say what that should look like. Instead, she says she will abide by whatever the judge decides.

The judge is taking everything under consideration, and will impose a sentence for Williams on June 8th.

Family, friends of woman who abducted Jacksonville newborn ask that she get a second chance

Loving, caring, and God-fearing.

It’s how the friends and family of Gloria Williams described her in court today, while asking a judge to be lenient in sentencing her for the 1998 kidnapping of newborn Kamiyah Mobley from a Jacksonville hospital. She could face up to 22 years in prison, after pleading guilty earlier this year.

“She is a wonderful person who made a mistake. It caught up with her,” says Andre Bolden, who is one of Williams’ sons.

Williams was arrested in early 2017 in South Carolina, where she had been raising Mobley as her own daughter, under the name Alexis Manigo. The arrest came as a shock to those who know her. 

“I don’t want to lose my mom off one mistake. It was a heavy mistake,” says her other son, Antoine Bolden.

Both Andre and Antoine told the judge they had good childhoods, splitting their time between Williams and their father, William Bolden. Antoine described Williams as his role model. 

“She’s everything I want me wife to be when I get married. She’s genuine, she’s loving, she’s caring,” he says. 

Williams’ husband, Wernoskie Conevy Williams, says he had learned about a year before the arrest that Williams had kidnapped Mobley, but he chose not to come forward, in order to support his wife. He joined in her sons in saying Williams made a mistake. 

“She deserves a second chance,” Mr. Williams says. 

Williams’ pastor and friend, Sheri Yvette-Base White, says everyone who seeks forgiveness from God can get it, and she believes Williams has been using her time in jail to get closer to God. 

“We will sin and fall short daily, everyone is going to make a mistake every day. Sin is sin. The deal is, that you repent for your sins and ask for forgiveness,” White says. 

She says Williams served several years as a Youth Coordinator for the church, while also playing a prominent role in fundraisers and other church operations. She says Williams had an impact on her life personally- while she was trying to get help from the VA- and she’s seen her have a direct impact on others in the community as well. 

“I have not lost a friend, because I know where she is. But I don’t have that ray of sunshine,” White says. 

Williams’ parents also pleaded for leniency. 

“If you do the crime, you’ve got to do the time. I just hope it’s not as bad as it might be,” says her father, Wilbert Brown. 

Both Brown and his wife Gloria are elderly and sick. Gloria says, before Williams was incarcerated, she would help her with doctors, visit her when she was in the hospital, and more. 

“I’m not mad at my daughter. I love her so much, and I miss her,” she says. 

Gloria says, if she had known, she would have told Williams to give the child back to her family. They both say the kidnapping is out of character for Williams.

The defense also questioned several witnesses about what they describe as an abusive relationship that Williams was in at the time. Williams’ parents and sons believe that Charles Manigo- the man she led to believe was Kamiyah’s father- was physically, verbally, and mentally abusive, to the point where Williams’ sons had their custody arrangement changed so that they would live away from that home more. 

“We understand, yes, something wrong happened. We understand. We don’t know why, but we understand,” White says. 

They all offered to support Williams whenever she’s allowed to go back to South Carolina. Her sons said their children miss seeing their grandmother.

“I think she deserves a second chance, I think she shouldn’t get the max. I think she’s at peace with the situation, she made a mistake, she understands that, and putting somebody behind bars for 22 years, that’s a lot when they did so much before they went in,” Antoine Bolden says.

Williams took Mobley from a Jacksonville hospital just a few hours after she was born. She told Mobley’s mother that she was a nurse and was taking the newborn to get her temperature checked, when she instead left the hospital with her and never returned. Mobley’s biological parents testified earlier in the day, asking the judge to impose the maximum sentence.

Mobley herself will not testify during the sentencing hearing. Instead, prior interviews she has done have been submitted for the judge’s consideration. Mobley has previously called for leniency for Williams.

This testimony came after several witnesses spoke on behalf of the state, including Kamiyah’s biological parents, who asked the judge to impose the maximum sentence.

The sentencing hearing resumes Friday morning. Stay with WOKV for full coverage. 

Parents of victim in 1998 newborn abduction case want kidnapper to face maximum sentence

The woman who admitted to kidnapping a newborn from a Jacksonville hospital twenty years ago will soon learn her sentence, and the parents of the baby she took want that to be as severe as possible.

“She’s making all this about her. It is not about her. She’s not sorry, never apologized. Writing my baby, ‘I’m still your mother’. She’s not sorry, so why should we have mercy on her soul,” says Shanara Mobley, the biological mother of Kamiyah Mobley. 

Kamiyah was taken only hours after her birth in 1998 by Gloria Williams, who then raised her in South Carolina as her own daughter. Williams was arrested in early 2017, and pleaded guilty this past February to kidnapping and custody interference. Under her plea, she could face up to 22 years in prison. 

Mobley says she wants Williams to face death for what she did, but since that’s not going to happen, she’s asking for her to be barred from contacting Kamiyah- who was raised as Alexis Manigo- in the future. Mobley says it’s hurt her to see Williams still claiming affection toward Kamiyah, and vice versa

“That is my child. I am your mother, Kamiyah. I am your mother,” Mobley says. 

Mobley was a young teen when she got pregnant, and says that made her dedicated to turn her life around.

“I was happy, like everything was right,” she says.

She got emotional thinking about the first time she could remember holding Kamiyah, after giving birth.

“When they brought her to the room and I held my baby, she was so beautiful. She was so beautiful, she was so beautiful. I just kept waiting to take her home and dress her up and show her off,” Mobley says.

Williams posed as a nurse and spent hours in the hospital room with her and the newborn. Mobley told the court that Williams said she was going to take Kamiyah to get her temperature checked- but she never returned. She trusted her, and feels like she was taken advantage of, because she was young, weak, and scared. 

“She preyed on a child and a baby. Would we be here right now if it was a grown woman? She preyed on a child, and we would not be here if it was a grown woman. She wouldn’t have went in to a grown woman’s room and got her baby,” Mobley says. 

Kamiyah’s biological father, Craig Aiken, was in jail at the time of her birth. He told the court that he was in his cell, when several officers came up and took him aside. 

“They said, ‘Mr. Aiken, we’ve got good news and we’ve got bad news’,” Aiken says. 

He told the court he was so happy when they told him his daughter had been born, but couldn’t understand when they said she had been kidnapped. He didn’t get any answers, and when he was allowed to talk to Mobley, she laid blame on him for not being there. 

The moment Kamiyah was taken is something both Aiken and Mobley say they think about daily. 

“I missed the first walk, first word, graduating, prom- I missed all of that,” Mobley says. 

They came together every year with other family to mark their daughter’s birthday, saying they always believed she was still alive. Others in the family feared the worst, but kept hoping.

“I prayed to God that I would be able to see what happened to my grandbaby, and God answered my prayers,” says Velma Aiken, Kamiya’s biological grandmother. 

The family endured a lot over the years, though, including intensive questioning by police and scrutiny by the community. A JSO detective who worked the case for more than a decade confirmed for the court that the family was investigated for the kidnapping, because the stranger kidnapping of a baby is such an unusual crime. 

“Do you know what it feels like to have the whole world turn their back on you, for a crime that someone else committed,” Aiken asked. 

Another person tied up in this is Charles Mobley, who was in a relationship with Williams at the time of Kamiyah’s abduction, and was led to believe by Williams that he was the baby’s father.

“I lost a child, it’s something I can’t get back,” he says.

Aiken wants Williams to face the maximum sentence, but not because of his own personal feelings. He says he knows his daughter doesn’t want Williams to serve time, but he wants to make sure there is a clear message sent to anyone who kidnaps a child. 

“You’ve got to pay for what you did,” he says. 

Like Mobley, he wants no further contact between Kamiyah and Williams as well, saying Williams doesn’t understand she’s not Kamiyah’s mother, and that she’s only hurting the teen more by trying to stay in her life.

“What she has pumping through Kamiyah is lies, what I have pumping through Kamiyah is blood,” Aiken says.

And for Mobley, it’s about looking forward. 

“The future has so much to offer us right now,” she says. 

She is looking forward to the milestones still to come, like seeing Kamiyah go to college.

The defense called several witnesses late Thursday, painting Williams as a loving and caring mother. The sentencing hearing continues Friday.

Fifteen dogs rescued after being dumped in Baker County

Fifteen dogs are being cared for, after they were found dumped in two crates outside of the Baker County Animal Control facilities.

“They were covered with fleas, they were loaded with worms, we’ve treated both of those already. Some of them are going to need some dental work,” says Florida Urgent Rescue, Inc. Founder and President Mike Merrill. 

FUR got a call from Baker County Animal Control around midnight Sunday, when the dogs were discovered. 

“When we get these late night, evening, and weekend calls, we tend to know just from the caller ID that it’s an emergency,” he says. 

FUR immediately deployed to recover the dogs, because the number was something Baker Animal Control couldn’t handle. They brought them to Saint Francis Animal Hospital in Jacksonville, which Merrill says opened in those overnight hours in order to help in the rescue. 

GALLERY: Dogs rescued after being dumped in Baker  County

The dogs are being medically treated and evaluated at this time. Merrill says they suspect the dogs were part of a backyard breeding operation, and they were dumped because they’re all “miniature” Australian Shepherds. While the dogs are the size of older puppies- between ten and 26 pounds- Merrill says they’ve determined they are small because of the breeding. 

“Nothing surprises us anymore, we see some pretty terrible things,” he says. 

FUR is coordinating with other rescue groups across Florida and the Southeast- including some specific to the breed- with the intention of sending some of the dogs to those groups. Some will be kept in the area and placed with fosters, as they continue to go through medical treatments. 

Placing this many dogs is a complicated undertaking, so Merrill says if you’re willing to foster any of them- or any other dogs that FUR brings in- they would love your help. As a non-profit, though, he says their overwhelming need is always funding. 

“Trying to treat all 15 of them all at one time is a pretty big undertaking,” he says. 

You can donate to FUR through their website

Meanwhile, the Baker County Sheriff’s Office is investigating, with Merrill saying this is not the right way to handle dogs that you no longer can or want to care for. They’re asking the community to come forward with any information you have, including if you know someone who used to have a lot of dogs, and no longer does. You can reach the Baker County Sheriff’s Office at 904-259-2231. 

Merrill is further encouraging you to adopt pets, rather than shopping. He says buying an animal in a mall shop generally supports breeding operations, like what likely led to these dogs being dumped. With the number of animals in area shelters, he says adopting not only enriches your life and is more cost effective than buying from a store, but it helps save the lives of these animals as well.

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$800 million+ Wembley Stadium purchase will strengthen the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to the team

The Jacksonville Jaguars think that investing hundreds of millions of dollars overseas will help strengthen the team’s stability on the First Coast. 

Jaguars owner Shad Khan is working to purchase London’s Wembley Stadium, offering more than $800 million for the deal. Jags President Mark Lamping says the proposal would allow The Football Association- which currently owns the Stadium- to also retain future revenue from club seats, valued at more than $400 million over time. Lamping says they’re now working on due diligence over the condition of the venue, and expect the deal could close in a matter of around eight weeks. 

The deal was presented to the FA Thursday, but Lamping says it’s the culmination of more than a year of strategic conversations. He says, with FA ownership, they always ran the risk that the Stadium would be sold to another party that either had no interest in partnering with the NFL, or could not be as flexible in the scheduling. 

“In every respect, the Jaguars’ standing in London would be improved and dramatically enhanced if we are fortunate to be approved as the new owner and steward of Wembley Stadium, and that’s good news for the Jaguars and all of Jacksonville,” says a statement from Khan. 

Speaking to the media at the Jags’ Draft Party late Thursday, Khan said he sees the challenges that Jacksonville has as an NFL market, and looks for ways to work around that.

“We want to be proactive, do something about it, and be at the cutting edge of a franchise that can win games and have a great experience,” he says.

This falls in line with a business update delivered by Lamping during the team’s “State of the Franchise” last week. Lamping says Jacksonville is small, compared to other NFL markets, so they’re always looking for more revenue opportunities to supplement what they bring in locally. The team has long said it intends to continue to strengthen its foothold in the London series, because of the potential that market has to bring in revenue. 

TEN THINGS TO KNOW: Jacksonville Jaguars “State of the Franchise”

“This is very consistent with the strategy that we’ve been successfully implementing over the course of the past several years, trying to find those opportunities that can result in new revenue streams that flow back to Jacksonville,” Lamping said Thursday. 

“For the Jaguars, it would deliver another – and very significant – asset and local revenue source that would further strengthen our investment in London, which as everyone knows is crucial to the Jaguars’ continued sustainability in Jacksonville,” says a statement from Khan. 

Lamping says the purchase of Wembley would give them access to additional revenue in the venue- like concessions- while also stopping the “sizable” annual payment the team makes to play there. Additionally, Lamping says Khan would stand to make money off other non-NFL games hosted in the Stadium each year, including English National League matches. 

“Those games are the most valuable content at Wembley each and every year,” he says. 

Khan sought to make it clear to the London fan base of the Jaguars and Fulham FC, which he also owns, that he will continue investing in them, as he also seeks to honor Wembley Stadium. 

“As important, Wembley Stadium would return to private ownership and The Football Association would be able to focus on its core mission of developing players with the best player developers and facilities anywhere in the game, thanks in part to the vast financial benefit that would result from the transaction. I trust many if not most of you are also supporters of the England national teams, so I hope you welcome the potential of this becoming a reality. Always know Wembley would be home to the England national teams, and that we would strive every day of the year to be the best possible steward for a venue that is iconic and beloved here and throughout the world,” says a statement Khan made to Fulham FC supporters. 

Following the announcement, critics immediately started questioning whether this is a step toward the team moving to London outright- something that national media outlets often speculate, but that the Jags ownership has continually denied. Khan says he doesn’t understand the speculation, adding that he has business deals around the country. He says the international ties for the Jags gives them international exposure, recognition, and sponsors, adding that the Jags even have full time staff in London to help handle those matters, and this deal would add more security to that operation.

Lamping says he understands that fans could be concerned, because they have long had to deal with these types of rumors. 

“We view our London game as supplemental to what we do here in Jacksonville. You know, Jacksonville drives the Jaguars, not London,” he says. 

He says Khan plans to continue investing in London and Jacksonville alike, and none of that changes with this new deal. 

“We would ask that fans continue to judge us on our actions, not based on what their worst fears might be,” he says. 

During the “State of the Franchise”, the Jags unveiled a new $2.5 billion redevelopment proposal for the Sports Complex, which includes upgrading the marina, new high-end hotels, office and residential space, and more. 

The first phase of that is envisioned as the redevelopment of the “Lot J” parking lot, adding new multi-use buildings, a live arena, and a nearby parking garage to offset the loss of spaces. This is while the team continues to negotiate with the City over the redevelopment of the Jacksonville Shipyards.

While it’s unclear right now how much the team will ask the City for as part of that proposal, Lamping made it clear it’s envisioned as a public/private partnership. He says- no matter how much wealth an investor has- they’re always looking at making the right business decision, and if a plan makes financial sense to the City, it’s natural they should be a partner. 

“That public investment is limited only to the level necessary to make the project possible, and that’s the approach we’re taking,” Lamping says. 

Another important element for Khan is that the team historically plays well at Wembley Stadium.

“We have the energy, we have the fans there, we have a full stadium there,” he says.

Khan says they saw some of that at the tail end of last year’s successful season, but they want to make sure they can secure that overseas as well. The Jags have a deal to play a game in London each of the next few seasons, and Khan hopes the League sees the impact that has on the team and continues the agreement moving forward.

The NFL UK says this proposed deal is a sign of Khan’s continued commitment to the UK market and his vision to grow the League. Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry says the team made him aware of their interest, and he sees this as a good move for the City, including building Jacksonville’s brand internationally.

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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!

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