City faces fines for late baseball stadium construction
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - If Biloxi has to pay fines for missing its deadline for completion of building its new minor league baseball stadium, where will the money come from? The architect told the Biloxi City Council on Tuesday that the completion date will be delayed by about a month to the middle of May.
Biloxi's agreement was to have the stadium built by the first pitch of the 2015 baseball season, in April. For every home game the Biloxi stadium is not ready for play, the city has to pay the team $10,000.
Biloxi residents are starting to feel a sense of frustration when it comes to the fines the city is facing.
"Somebody's going to have to cough up the money if they have to pay fines, because the fines are horrendous," said Biloxi resident Gill Miller.
Bob Kranz, another resident, said he can only think of one way for the city to have enough money to pay.
"Hey, guess what? Our taxes are going up again and again. Somebody needs to stop and think," said Kranz.
Councilman Felix Gines says the city is more than confident in the current timeline.
"We believe that it can be done in 10 months or less," said Gines.
That would still mean the city would miss its deadline and face several weeks of fines.
Gines said they are now negotiating how to deal with that issue.
"The road we're going down right now is talking to the owners," said Gines.
The hope is that the owners will agree to push back home games and adjust the team's schedule. Doing this will keep fines to a minimum.
There is also another step that the city hopes will be taken to ensure faster construction.
"As you know, there is a parking garage that's going to be on the other side," said Gines.
If the architect and contractors can develop a plan to concentrate on the stadium first, that should allow for a quicker build. Gines said there is one more factor that should provide a safety net in case things don't go according to plan. The city hopes to have a new contractor by July 21 that will significantly reduce costs.
"We're hoping that in going through this process, that it will save money, and if that possibility then we would have enough to be able to take care of that," said Gines.
Gines said the architect has done similar projects in the same time frame, like Trustmark Park in Pearl, but there are still other factors to consider, such as weather and construction problems that could push the date back even further. When the city negotiates a deal with a contractor, it will include wording that will protect the city from at least contractor mistakes.
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