BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A community organization wants Biloxi voters to weigh in on a plan to build a minor league baseball stadium downtown.
Last month, city and state leaders unveiled plans to build the stadium on land owned by Beau Rivage Resort and Casino. The Biloxi City Council passed a resolution of intent to issue up to $21 million in bonds to construct the new stadium near Caillavet Street. And Governor Bryant came to Biloxi with a promise to pitch in another $15 million in BP proceeds to help cover the estimated $35 million construction cost.
Now, the Steps Coalition is launching a petition campaign to collect 1,500 signatures by June 18. That would force the City of Biloxi to schedule an election on the bond issue, so residents can have a say.
Steps Coalition Director Roberta Avila said, "As a resident of Biloxi, I am wary of 'build it and they will come.' We can't assume that just because we invest $21 million that this ball park will see the fruition and benefits that have been touted."
The Gulf Coast Business Council's research foundation estimates the stadium development will spur an additional $10 million annually in visitor spending on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
"We have heard the upside of the project, but we have not heard what might be downside on the project," said Avila's husband and Biloxi businessman Milton Grishman. "Citizens in Biloxi have the right to more information, before we sign off on a $21 million bond for a project that will be built on leased land."
The Steps Coalition is also calling for a community forum on the ball park project where citizens can discuss the pros and cons of the project.
The group will hold a news conference Tuesday morning to explain more about the petition drive, and their concerns about the stadium project.