BILOXI, Mississippi — The city of Biloxi has entered into a $29 million contract to build no-frills minor league baseball stadium.
On Tuesday, the city council voted to give the contract to W.G. Yates & Sons. Stadium architect Leigh Jaunsen said Yates should be ready to start in a week.
Bids for construction initially came in some $5 million over the city's contract-mandated $36 million budget. The city negotiated the price down, however, by cutting out some of the features of the project — including a walkway from the new Beau Rivage parking garage to the south side of U.S. Highway 90 and the stadium scoreboard.
City attorney Ron Peresich said the state Department of Transportation will contribute some or all of the cost for the walkway.
The city also is looking for sponsors who may cover some of the $300,000 or more for the electronic scoreboard, he said.
The stadium is being financed with $21 million from city-issued bonds and $15 million from a BP grant pledged by Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant.
The city council vote was 5-2 for the contract.
City Council President Kenny Glavan said before the vote the issue was a "sensitive" one for many Biloxi residents and an issue which carries a certain amount of "fear" with it.
"Fear of cost, fear about parking, fear about traffic, fear about will anybody come," he said. "But I think it's time for Biloxi to be bold, for Biloxi to be better."
The Huntsville (Alabama) Stars have been sold and a move to Biloxi for the 2015 season has been approved by the Southern League.
The team's first home game is scheduled for April 20, 2015.