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Biloxi ballpark bids busting budget

MGM Park

Well, you can expect some value engineering on a proposed new Class AA Southern League Biloxi ballpark, as the lowest bid on the project came in some $5 million more than the city’s budgeted amount.

The lowest bid of $32.37 million for the ballpark came in more than $5 million over budget. The total project budget for MGM Park is $36 million, but the ballpark portion of that plan was $27 million. Right now all the ballpark funding is from two sources, with BP funding $15 million and the city issuing $21 million in bonds. From WLOX:

“I’m a little disappointed, but that’s what the game is all about. We have to bid it out and see what happens,” Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway said. “We’re analyzing them now, we’re looking through them, my team is, and we don’t know what to think right now. It’s pretty much out of our budget.”

Mayor Holloway said worse case scenario is they may have to start from square one, and  that’s if they can’t cut costs.

“We’re going to look at it, see what we can cut and what we can’t cut, and we might have to go through the process again,” Mayor Holloway said.

The higher bids and the likelihood that either the project will be scaled back or the city (and/or team) come up with some additional money puts a 2015 opening into some serious doubt. We were already looking at a very tight construction schedule if the ballpark were to be ready for play in April; put things off by another money and that opening may be pushed back to 2016. The team’s contract with the city, however, does put the pressure to get a facility opened in 2015: The Stars’ contract with Biloxi calls for a penalty of $10,000 per missed game in April due to ballpark construction, up to $70,000, but there’s no limit on penalties in May and beyond.

UPDATE: City officials and designers with Dale & Associates say they’ve already applied value engineering to the project, but without cutting some specific features, there’s no way to reach the lower bid level. Potential cuts, such as downgraded seating in the suites, will save $418,000, but when added up they won’t be enough to meet the budget.

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