MGM Park looks ahead to the baseball offseason - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

MGM Park looks ahead to the baseball offseason

Cliff Kirkland, with the City of Biloxi, said concerts and family festivals will be scheduled at the park over the next several months, until baseball begins again next year. (Photo source: WLOX) Cliff Kirkland, with the City of Biloxi, said concerts and family festivals will be scheduled at the park over the next several months, until baseball begins again next year. (Photo source: WLOX)
Baseball is over for the year at MGM Park in downtown Biloxi. (Photo source: WLOX) Baseball is over for the year at MGM Park in downtown Biloxi. (Photo source: WLOX)
As for the actual construction of the stadium, it is virtually 100 percent complete. (Photo source: WLOX) As for the actual construction of the stadium, it is virtually 100 percent complete. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

It's quiet now at MGM Park, but city officials hope it won't stay that way for long. Cliff Kirkland works in economic development for the city. 

“We're working with the management company and the Shuckers and with Beau Rivage to schedule a variety of events, including concerts and other sporting events and festivals,” Kirkland explained.

Events will have to tread lightly though, because just like the players, the ball field needs to be kept in top shape, according to Kirkland. 

“We're always protective of the field and making sure that when the team returns in April, they have the best quality field available,” said Kirkland.

How about the stadium itself?  Is it finished? Andy Westfall is the project manager for Yates Construction. 

“Construction of the stadium is completely done. We've got a few punch list items we're working through. Other than that, we're just about wrapped up,” Westfall said.

He added that it was a challenge building the ball park while games were being played this summer. Now that it’s done, how does he feel? 

“Being a Coast resident, it’s definitely something that I'm proud of to have here, and it's a fantastic thing for the community and it's great for families,” said Westfall. 

Looking back one year ago, a lot of people in Biloxi thought the stadium should never have been built, that $20 million in Biloxi taxpayer money should not have been used to fund construction.

However, now city officials, including Kirkland, say the gamble was certainly worth the risk. 

“I think that many people were surprised by the reception for baseball here. Those that doubted the ability of baseball to produce the amount of fans that it did. I think that we averaged close to 3,000 fans a game for the home games we had,” said Kirkland.

Besides the field, Kirkland said something else green is also being produced. 

“The city is making money off the stadium.”

It was announced earlier this month that several college baseball teams will play at the stadium next year as well, including Mississippi State and USM.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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