BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The $36 million MGM Park for the Southern League's AA baseball team, the Biloxi Shuckers continues to come out of the ground. The city and team owners are playing a game of beat the clock.
The Shuckers are set to hit the field in April for the 2015 season. All along Biloxi leaders have said they cannot exceed the $36 million price tag.
"I've had marching orders from day one. $36 million. That's what we're doing, keeping in line with $36 million and it's quite a challenge," said Biloxi Chief Administrative Officer David Nichols.
Meanwhile, several big ticket stadium feature remain unfunded. New artist renderings show a scoreboard and video screen, along with an elevated walkway over Highway 90.
MDOT will pay $1.6 million, or 80 percent, of the $2 million cost. Biloxi will be responsible for the remaining 20 percent in matching funding, totaling $400,000.
"We are working on a couple of different types of grant funding. We have not heard anything it yet. We're hoping we can get that funding to come up with the match," Nichols said.
The cost of a scoreboard and video screen would run between $800,000 and $2 million. Biloxi and the team are looking for sponsors to defray the cost, and city leaders hope the owners of the Shuckers will be willing to negotiate.
"Hopefully we can come up with some kind of agreement with the team, and maybe have them help us with the scoreboard. They've been good about working with us and looking at alternatives. Hopefully, we can work something out with the team," according to Nichols.
The third item is the sound system. The city plans to make adjustments to the budget during the construction phase to pay for that.
The bottom line is it's going to take creative financing to pay for all of the stadium while remaining within budget.