Yankie Stadium to be demolished, history preserved

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Built in the 1950s, Biloxi's Yankie Stadium has seen a lot of ups and downs. Many residents have fond memories of playing ball at the stadium. Even Biloxi's mayor remembers playing, and later officiating, at games in his youth.

"I have some great memories of playing on that field. One of the biggest memories was I got a cheap shot from somebody from Gulfport, and I got thrown out of the ball game for that," said Biloxi Mayor AJ Holloway with a laugh.

The Salvation Army took over the stadium nearly six years ago. As a part of developing the Kroc Community Center, Salvation Army officials had hoped to restore the stadium that's fallen on hard times.

However, an engineering study revealed that there is too much damage, and the cost would be too high. So, Yankie Stadium will be demolished.

"We didn't want this stadium to come down, but because of a lot of safety issues, we're going to do it," said Salvation Army Area Commander Major Alan Hill, Area Commander. "Any change in it would cause another problem in it and so it's just a ripple effect to tear it down and have to replace it."

"I've seen the pictures that the architects took and the contractor have shown me, and it is dangerous. I didn't realize it was in that bad of shape," said Holloway.

While the Yankie stadium will be gone, it certainly won't be forgotten. The Salvation Army has taken a lot of steps to preserve its history, including keep the original entryway arch for future generations.

"We hope to have some of the history, the written history, and have even an area inside where we can talk about the history of how it began," said Hill.

Officials say the next step is to accept bids on the demolition.  From there they can make plans for a new stadium.

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.