In a move that should surprise absolutely no one, the leadership of the city of Jackson is united behind Jackson State University's proposal for a 50,000-seat domed stadium.
The proposed project, expected to cost approximately $250 million, got votes of confidence from the city council Tuesday night and from Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. Wednesday afternoon.
"I agree with this concept (of a domed stadium)," Johnson said. "I have gone on the record and said that I don't want to lose seats. We're the capital city and we have 62,000 seats in our stadium. We have to compete with Little Rock, Mobile, Baton Rouge and Memphis, as well as other venues in the south. If we ended up with a new outdoor stadium that seated 25,000 people, then I couldn't support that. Then I started meeting with the people at Jackson State, and a domed stadium would be unique to the state and the region. It also offers versatility that an open-air stadium would not offer. "
Jackson State officials have estimated the proposed stadium would infuse $64 million annually into the city's economy and host music and entertainment events and conventions along with sporting events.
The 50,000 seats would make the stadium the third-biggest stadium in the state behind Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford and Davis-Wade Stadium in Starkville. Both of those venues were built with private donations, are open-air and used almost exclusively for football.