BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Biloxi council had to take a lot of things into consideration when deciding if the $36 million baseball stadium is the best thing for their constituents. Residents have voiced concerns over a number of things from funding, to the trees that will be cut down and even the location.
"People talk about the Beau Rivage and what they are getting out of it," Biloxi Businessman Robert "Bones" Barq said. "But what is the Mississippi Gulf Coast getting out of it? We need to be thanking the Beau Rivage; they have been great neighbors."
Barq was one of a handful of citizens who wanted their voices to be heard one last time before the council voted.
In front of the council he said, "Your word is your bond. Let's vote in favor of this bond issue."
"This is a significant investment in Biloxi for today and for the future," said Cliff Kirkland, a Biloxi native, Main Street board member and vocal baseball supporter. "It's an opportunity for us to draft off of family entertainment and a venue stadium that can be used for many other opportunities that benefit our citizens, benefit our visitors, and promote the city of Biloxi."
But not everyone was cheering for baseball.
"I'm going to make a prediction y'all," Biloxi resident Mary Rose Leahy said. "Pass this folly and in five years the city of Biloxi will go bankrupt."
Leahy's main concern was the contract.
"I wonder how many people in here realize that if this ball team decides to pull out, with no consequences to them, that within 18 months if the city of Biloxi does not have another team, the whole shoot match goes to the Beau Rivage," Leahy said. "What kind of a deal is that?"
In the end, the council okayed the deal as the right thing for the city's future and the room began clapping, but the most vocal critic of the deal remains unconvinced.
"I want to see how loud they are going to clap when their taxes go up because there is no other way to pay for this than taxes," Leahy said.
While Leahy was the only critic of the baseball deal to speak at the meeting, council members and others have been getting detailed emails from someone identifying as "a very concerned taxpayer." He or she has raised questions about whether the deal or people involved may have violated ethics rules.