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Biloxi approves new-ballpark funding; team set to play in 2015

Southern LeagueThe Biloxi City Council today moved forward with a bonding plan for a new $36-million ballpark, paving the way for Ken Young to move a Class AA Southern League team there in 2015.

The $36-million financing plan for the 6,000-seat ballpark is pretty simple: the city will use $15 million from a state grant stemming from BP monies, and the remaining $21 million will be bonded by Biloxi, paid back by a $2 ticket surcharge. The budget also calls for a 350-space parking garage , which will be leased back to the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino.

What was not public before today: How much control Beau Rivage Resort and Casino and parent MGM International would have. The resort is leasing the land for the ballpark to the city for $1 annually and paying ad valorem taxes on it and the parking garage, but in return the resort will retain naming rights (the city retains naming rights for the playing field) and a big say in how the ballpark looks (any change costing $100,000 or more must be approved by the resort, as well as any changes to the exterior). The lease calls for the ballpark to be ready for use by March 28, 2015; if that deadline is not met, the team will receive $10,000 per missed game.

Ken Young, owner of four MiLB franchises (Albuquerque, Norfolk, Bowie, Frederick) will buy an existing Class AA Southern League team and move it to Biloxi for the 2015 season should the ballpark financing plan be approved.

RELATED STORIES: Young: New ballpark will spark downtown Biloxi growth; Consultant: Biloxi ballpark site would be a winner; Biloxi: Let’s slow down new-ballpark plan; New Biloxi ballpark could slip to 2015; Biloxi petition drive falls short; council to study bond rates; Proposed Biloxi ballpark draws opposition; rally set for today; Biloxi group wants referendum on new ballpark; Bennett, Young, Bryant unveil plans for new Biloxi ballpark; Bennett: We can open Biloxi ballpark in 2014; Biloxi commits to borrowing $21 million for new ballpark; Another run at affiliated ball in Biloxi; Talk about Biloxi ballpark emerges again


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