Biloxi minor league stadium dream is one step closer to reality

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Biloxi. Beach. Baseball. It's what some would call a triple play.

Thursday afternoon, the dream to bring a minor league stadium to Biloxi took a huge step forward as the plans were unveiled and Governor Bryant announced where a chunk of the funding will come from.

"I'd like to tell them they've got a home and we're committed. Gulf Coast 20-20 said they're going to make a commitment. The state of Mississippi stepped up and this governor's office said we're going to commit $15 million," said Governor Bryant to the attentive crowd at the Biloxi Visitors Center.

That money from BP grants would be paired up with an estimated $20 million from the city of Biloxi. The funds will go to build a 7,000 seat stadium, on property owned by the Beau Rivage.

"It means an economic stimulus that's going to help us develop those creative ideas we've had for the last several years of an entertainment district downtown. A walk-able district downtown, revitalizing Biloxi," said President of MGM Resorts George Corchis.

"You've got casinos, beaches, golf. Now, you've got baseball," said Tim Bennett.

Bennett delivered the Mississippi Braves to Pearl. He said bringing the minor leagues to the Coast has been a tough battle.

"To me, this is special because I've watched Katrina. I was here working during that one. The BP oil spill, the recession that everyone has felt and just all of the obstacles that go with building a stadium make it difficult to do this," said Bennett.

"This is going to have such an impact on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, $10-million a year additional impact. 300,000 Mississippians, people from all over America will be coming to watch professional baseball on the Mississippi Gulf Coast," said Governor Phil Bryant.

The ballpark will sit on Beau Rivage property north of its downtown Biloxi resort. Home plate will be near I-110 and Howard Avenue. Officials say it will be ready in 2014. When that time comes, Governor Bryant says he knows who should throw the first pitch.

"I'm warming up my arm," said Governor Bryant.

With baseball caps reading, "Biloxi Baseball," state officials are ready for one thing.

"PLAY BALL!" Cheered state officials, at the conclusion of the news conference.

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