Biloxi City Council members learned Tuesday that construction of the MGM Ballpark at Beau Rivage could be running behind schedule. That could mean thousands of dollars in fines the city will have to pay.
If you pass the site it may look like construction is underway. But, technically, it's only being prepped for the real construction work.
The park's architect gave the council information Tuesday that presented a more realistic look into the timeline of project. It wasn't exactly what city leaders wanted to hear.
Leigh Jaunsen has been working on the MGM Ballpark for more than a year. She and her team at Dale Partners have had experience with similar projects before, like Trustmark Ballpark in Pearl. Seeing that project come to fruition gave her a good idea as to how this one would play out, but things always have the potential to change.
"Theoretically, we had a project that could be completed in a year, but we had to rebid a couple of packages," said Jaunsen.
The structural package, for instance, had to be redone because not enough bids came in.
Right now, the project should have a general contractor by July 21, at the earliest.
"That's making it work quickly, to get it July 21. So, if we have an awardable bid by July 9, we should be able to do that," said Jaunsen.
Otherwise, Jaunsen said it's back to the drawing board of bidding again. If all goes as planned, construction could officially begin at the end of July on the site where prep work has been taking place for weeks. But, that means an extended completion date.
"We anticipate a substantial completion date of May 17, 2015," said Jaunsen.
Originally, the first pitch was going to be thrown in April, and the extension could cost the city. The team is charging the city a $10,000 fine per game with a cap of $70,000 for the month of April. But Councilman Felix Gines said that money won't be coming out of the taxpayers' pockets.
"The citizens should not have to worry about fines. We have that under control," said Gines.
He believes the project will go through as currently planned, and the ball team is aware of the timeline changes.
"We've been in touch with the owner about the process and where we're headed and we should be playing ball by May," said Gines.
The May 17 completion date is the earliest that we could see any baseball at the ballpark. That's with the 10 month plan. Jaunsen said there is also a 12 month plan that will be open for bids that could extend the completion date even further. And, the fine cap that's in April is not necessarily carried through to the following months.
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