HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A trench digging machine and a hammer driving a metal rod into the ground create the sounds that will translate into more tourism dollars for Hancock County.
They're the sounds of construction found at the county's new, $3.4 million sports complex.
"They are probably about three quarters of the way of being done. I think maybe mid-summer they will be close to full completion," said Kevin Ladner.
Two baseball fields, a softball field with state of the art lighting a large concession stand with restroom facilities are in phase one. An irrigation system for the ball fields is currently being installed.
"We've still got to plant the grass and put the fencing up. We're going to be doing the parking lot and some of the concrete work next week. It's going to be a big economic boost for the county," added Ladner.
The plan: host large ball tournaments at the complex to bring in tourism dollars from travelers. Gas purchases, dinning out, hotels stays and shopping opportunities all generate revenue.
"It will average about $150 per person," said Myrna Green, who manages the Hancock County Tourism Bureau Office.
Green knows about the tourism dollars that can be generated from tournaments through large tournaments already being held in Bay St. Louis.
"For the Cal Ripken, we're anticipating 1,800 players. And if you say that times parents, and grandparents, friend and supporters, just think of the impact that can have. A $12 turn over for every dollar spent, your talking," explained Green.
The hope is the complex will be ready for the first pitch sometime in the fall.