With the facility’s future in flux, Tim Bennett of Overtime Sports has submitted a bid to assume management of Jackson, MS’s Smith-Wills Stadium.
Smith-Wills Stadium is best remembered in professional baseball circles as the home of the Jackson Mets/Generals (Class AA; Texas League) from 1975-1999, before hosting the Jackson DiamondKats (independent; Texas-Louisiana League, 2000) and the Jackson Senators (independent; Central Baseball League, 2002-2005). It is still in use today for Belhaven University’s baseball program, but the city had been debating whether to leave it open or demolish it to clear way for new development. Jackson issued a request for proposals (RFP) late last year to solicit interest from firms that could assume management of the venue, receiving a response from Kusche Sports Group–an entity formed by Bennett, the founder/owner of Overtime Sports and an owner of the Biloxi Shuckers (Class AA; Southern League).
It is anticipated that Bennett, who had previously consulted the city on the ballpark’s future, could look to upgrade Smith-Wills Stadium and bring tournaments to the facility. Although his firm’s bid was the only one received by the city, officials are cautioning that its acceptance is not a formality. More from The Northside Sun:
Ison Harris, director of parks and recreation, said he’s neither surprised nor disappointed with the response.
“I would like to have more options, but so be it,” he said. “This is a big project.”
He said the bid would be reviewed and a decision would likely be made by mid-February. Until then, Smith-Wills will still be overseen by the city.
“We’ll grade it and decide if we’ll accept it,” Harris said. “We typically take three to four weeks to look at (proposals).”
Smith-Wills Stadium’s future will not lie in Minor League Baseball, given its condition and that the market already includes the Mississippi Braves (Class AA; Southern League), who play at Trustmark Park in nearby Pearl. It is currently included on our Engendered Ballparks list.
Image courtesy Bellhaven University.