BILOXI, Mississippi — The Biloxi Shuckers' stadium won't be ready for what would have been the first home game on June 6.
Mayor Andrew "FoFo" Gilich said Wednesday the city, the team and Yates Construction are hoping the stadium will be ready sometime before Aug. 4.
Tickets for home games went on sale May 13, and those that have been sold will be honored.
Shuckers general manager Buck Rogers tells The Sun Herald (http://bit.ly/1HNVDAi) they are just like rain checks and will be honored. Printed on the back are instructions for fans to take tickets to the box office to redeem them for another game.
Gilich said officials told him it would cost $380,000 extra to open June 6, provided the stadium could qualify for a temporary certificate of occupancy.
"My decision was an easy one," Gilich said. "I support the stadium and the Biloxi Shuckers, and I'm eager to see the first home game. But I certainly won't ask the taxpayers to invest that much more into the project, especially with no assurances that the stadium would be ready in nine days."
The Shuckers are in first place in the Southern League, playing every game on the road.
"The coaches are keeping them focused on the game," Rogers said, and team officials are optimistic the stadium will get open soon.
Under the contract with the city, Yates Construction has until Aug. 4 to complete the project on schedule.
"There seems to be some misperceptions that construction is behind schedule just because it's not ready yet," Gilich said. "Yates has worked hard to finish ahead of schedule and I believe they will."
Gilich said the city has many things to do to prepare for the opening, relating to traffic, parking and public safety.
"I'm confident Biloxi is ready to meet the challenges of opening day, but there are still many construction issues to be completed before the stadium could open," he said. "Yates is determined to complete those as quickly as possible and get the Shuckers on the field ahead of schedule."
The team will have missed 25 home games by June 1, according to Tim Bennett, a Shuckers co-owner, and 24 more home games are scheduled from June 6 to Aug. 4.
Information from: The Sun Herald, http://www.sunherald.com
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