A plan to build a $36 million baseball park in downtown Biloxi has
raised the concerns of several grass roots organizations in the city.
The city would issue $21 million on bonds to help pay for park which
would be built on land leased for a dollar a year from Beau Rivage.
Included in that amount is $3.5 million to build a parking garage for
the use of Beau Rivage employees.
Members of the group "The
Taxpayers Coalition" gathered in front of the proposed stadium location
Tuesday morning holding signs with questions they want answered.
Questions like, why spend public money on a private investment? They
believe taxpayers have been left out of the process.
Roberta Avila is with the STEPS Coalition.
idea appeals to me, personally, but I feel like it moved too fast. The
concept moved too fast. There wasn't really time to hear the pros and
cons," Avila said.
Others who gathered, like businessman Milton Grishman, want more information about the deal.
say there's a 20 year lease. Well, 20 years is not very long. It needs
to be double that. Let's see those conditions of that lease. Let's do
the proper due diligence," Grishman implored.
citizens say they're not entirely against the idea of a downtown
baseball stadium, they just believe this process has moved along way too
James Crowell heads up the Biloxi NAACP.
not against economic prosperity or growing in this community," Crowell
said. "But we think that this project is moving a little too fast. And
if we're going to spend $21 million of the taxpayers' money, they should
have some input into this."
The group also wants to force a vote
on the bond, by collecting 1500 signatures during the next week. If a
vote has to be held, the deal could strike out because construction on
the stadium would be delayed by a least 90 days.
Ron Peresich is a consulting attorney for the project.
proposed new owner, who is buying the team and spending $14.5 million
to bring it to Biloxi has made that part of the consideration. He wants
it ready for next season," Peresich said.
Mayor A.J. Holloway said a meeting with the concerned citizens might be the answer.
could present them with what we know, what we're doing. We're not
trying to hide anything. We're just working to get this stadium. It will
be a great thing for the city of Biloxi and the Mississippi Gulf
Other details are also emerging about the proposed deal
to build the stadium. It would be operated and maintained by the owner
of the team, whose name has not been made public yet. Insurance on the
stadium would be paid for by the team owner, the city of Biloxi, and
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