BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - When the idea of MGM Park was first pitched, the city of Biloxi promised new development around the stadium, but there has been very little activity since it opened in 2015.
Biloxi and the state of Mississippi invested $36 million to build MGM Park and bring minor league baseball to the Coast. Two and half years after its opening, those who supported spending millions to bring the park to life are now wondering where the development is.
"The plan all along was to build on the north side of the stadium, to have a signature hotel there and an entertainment center, " said Cliff Kirkland, Chief of Civic Innovation and Development. "The room is there. The location is great. The city has talked to developers. Nothing happens overnight, unfortunately. We wish it did."
A handful of restaurants have opened near the stadium but significant development has failed to materialize.
While the Biloxi Shuckers are enjoying a measure of success on the field, the city is still working on creating activity outside of the park.
Tim Bennett with Overtime Sports - one of the city's partners on MGM Park - told WLOX he's talking to investors about development on Howard Avenue on the north side of MGM Park.
The City of Biloxi admits to being frustrated by the fact that promises of growth have not panned out. In today's economic climate, cities must be prepared to offer incentive deals to lure developers.
"We're trying to attract developers and investment. We're competing with other locations that might have better incentive packages. That's huge right now in development," said Kirkland. "Part of the downtown redevelopment is to create incentive packages. We're working with private businesses, industry and utilities to have a private-public incentive program."
Biloxi says creating those tax incentives is part of a larger plan to encourage development throughout the city.