BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Construction of the new MGM Ballpark in Biloxi could get underway as soon as mid August. The city council met Tuesday to discuss the next step in seeing the first pitch thrown at MGM Ballpark. The council pushed forward to approve a construction bid.
"I think it's time for us to be bold," said Council President Kenny Glavan.
He pleaded that the only option was to move forward. After some changes and removals from the bid package, the lowest number came from Yates Construction. That number was just under $30 million, but there is a list of big ticket items that it doesn't cover.
Glavan said the project will more than likely exceed the budget.
"Will we go over? My guess is we will. No doubt about it, we will. And we don't need to tell Biloxi anything different."
Some of the items not included in the $30 million include a $1.8 million walkway connecting the ballpark to the south side of 90, as well as the scoreboard.
According to the council there is a $600,000 contingency in the budget for these items, and M-DOT is planning to make a significant contribution to help with the walkway. But, because of those additional expenses, Councilman George Lawrence was opposed to immediately approving the bid.
"Maybe we need to step back and do this the right way and build the stadium we need to build, and everybody be satisfied with it. If they come in late August, anyway, what's the difference in another few weeks?" asked Lawrence.
Attorney Ron Peresich has been following this project from the beginning for the city. He said delaying construction would have only meant bad news for the ballpark.
"If we delayed another couple of weeks, then the completion date would arguably be two more weeks later. So, I think if we're going to build this thing and the council wants to do that as they've voted, might as well get on with it," said Peresich.
After much discussion, the decision went through with a five to two vote to accept the bid as written. Now, the city is looking to investors to take up the slack. According to Carl Campbell, that won't be hard to find. He addressed the council with a suggestion to reach out to citizens for investments.
"We have a golden opportunity to see a goose lay a golden egg," said Campbell.
As for his own personal investment, there were no commitments just yet.
Now, the contractor will put up a bond, and the city will issue a notice to proceed with construction. Again, city leaders expect construction to begin within the next month.