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Biloxi Businesses Hope Stadium Will Bring Boost

By Evelina Burnett | Published 24 Jan 2014 10:53am | comments
Governor Phil Bryant leads a ceremonial ground-breaking for the new baseball stadium Jan. 23 (Photo by Evelina Burnett)
Biloxi is moving closer to playing ball. As the city breaks ground on a new $36 million-dollar stadium, MPB’s Evelina Burnett spoke with local business owners about what they hope to see from baseball. 

The Biloxi High band welcomed several hundred baseball enthusiasts to a ceremonial ground-breaking held yesterday on the site of the new stadium, just across from the Beau Rivage casino in downtown Biloxi. Nearby business owners are hoping that when the stadium opens, in spring 2015, it will attract similar buzz. Felia Georges opened her gift shop, Gallimaufry by Grace, in October in downtown Biloxi.

 

"When I signed the lease, I was thinking, 'Come on, baseball stadium, get voted in! Because we need you," she says.

Georges hopes the stadium will let people know about the businesses in the area.

"I'm hoping that it will draw more people down to the coast and more businesses to our area," she says. "Since Katrina, we've been devastated here on the coast, down near Biloxi Boulevard. I'm hoping we can have some good entertainment and some good games and bring some people our way."

Donna Klee is president of Biloxi Main Street. She hopes the stadium will shine a spotlight on the downtown area and creating activity and interest from new businesses, developers -- and visitors.

"That's the hope - that you come early, you go to a restaurant or a bar, or you come down and walk through the shops, and you're able to spend some time, either before or after a game," she says. "You extend your stay, if you're coming from out of town, another day to benefit from the stadium and the things that it has to offer around it."

Parking in the downtown area is expected to be a concern, but local business owners said they're hopeful any issues will be worked out before the stadium opens.

The Biloxi city council still needs to finalize the contract with the team, as well as $21 million in bonds to help pay for its portion of the stadium. It’s expected to vote on both issues in the next few weeks. 

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Governor Phil Bryant leads a ceremonial ground-breaking for the new baseball stadium Jan. 23 (Photo by Evelina Burnett)


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