Biloxi, Shuckers, Yates all ready to open MGM Park on June 6

Published: May. 29, 2015 at 1:19 AM CDT|Updated: May. 29, 2015 at 9:54 AM CDT
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BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - One day after the City of Biloxi and the Shuckers minor league team looked like they were at an impasse, a deal has been struck for the team to play at MGM Park on June 6.

It could have cost the city an extra $380,000 to get the stadium ready by that date. That's money Mayor FoFo Gilich didn't want to pay.

After some heavy negotiations and a willing construction company, it looks like baseball will be in Biloxi sooner rather than later. Gilich has been in negotiations with Yates Construction and the Biloxi Shuckers owners since last week.

He began to tip his hand on Thursday afternoon when he told people at the Biloxi Businessman's Club not to throw away their tickets yet.

"We had the leadership of the new mayor working around the clock, and we were going to pay some more penalties if we missed that June 6 date and moved to August," said Biloxi Ward 6 Councilman Kenny Glavan. "So, when you net it all out, there is actually no additional cost to the city."

The anticipated economic growth will also help even out the cost. The deal calls for the city and the Shuckers to pay $100,000 each to Yates Construction to speed along the process. The money will come out of the city's general fund.

The price would have been close to $380,000, but Yates agreed to the cut and still get the necessary work done two months early.

"They're really far ahead," said Biloxi Chief Administrative Officer David Nichols. "Aug. 4 was the date that they have to be completed. So, for us to be able to play this early in the stadium says a lot for Yates Construction."

Nichols said city department officials, Yates and Shuckers co-owner Tim Bennett all believe obligations can be met.

"We've got a few ends to tie up, but it looks like we'll be playing ball on June 6," Nichols said. "We're looking forward to it."

While the celebration has begun, no official contract has been signed yet, and being ready for play on June 6 doesn't mean that all construction will be finished.

Yates will have to do a lot of stopping and starting to work around games, and the extra money is to accommodate Yates vendors who will be affected.

Fan Kenneth Owens, of D'Iberville, is ready for any date, just as long as it happens.

"I'm just ready for some baseball," Owens said. "Whenever it comes, I'm ready. So, if it's not June 6, next week or August. Whenever. I'm ready to go."

John Cox, of Ocean Springs, was getting his children ready with all the necessary equipment on Thursday afternoon.

"I'm just glad we got a baseball team down here," said Cox. "They're excited about it. It's more about the kids, for me, than anything. That's what excited me the most, really."

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