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Crane in place, construction about to begin on minor league baseball park in Biloxi

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BILOXI, Mississippi — A crane is in place and construction is about to begin for the minor league baseball park in Biloxi.

Leigh Jaunsen, architect with Dale Partners Architects, tells The Sun Herald (http://bit.ly/1pmo2CW ) she expects the stadium site on U.S. Highway 90, north of the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, to be quite busy by the end of the month.

The Huntsville Stars will move to Biloxi next year when the MGM Stadium at Beau Rivage is built. Until then, fans can see the team in action Aug. 22-26 in Mobile, when they play five night games.

In preparation for the stadium, the City Council last week hired Chris Gouras Jr. of Gouras & Associates as planning consultant to coordinate and attend meetings with the team, review leases and prepare revenue projections for the stadium.

"He's been working on getting additional funding," council President Kenny Glavan said.

When the low bid from W.G. Yates & Sons Construction came in higher than expected -- and more than the city's budget for the stadium -- the council cut extras out of the project and extended the timeline to stay within or close to its $36 million budget.

Gouras will help the city apply for and administer grants from the state, including a Tourism Rebate Incentive.

He also will oversee the sales-tax savings plan, a direct-purchase method. This would allow the city, which doesn't pay sales tax, to buy millions of dollars in building materials for the stadium without paying the 7 percent sales tax.

The city also is contractually obligated to pay team owners $10,000 per game for every home game that has to be moved until the stadium is ready for play. The first home game is April 20. Pensacola and other teams have had to play their early games on the road until their construction was finished.

Ron Peresich, attorney for Biloxi, said the provision is standard in contracts and protects the city because it provides a cap for the expense. If the team spends more than $10,000 to move the game, the city isn't responsible for the additional cost, he said.


Information from: The Sun Herald, http://www.sunherald.com

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