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Commission gives nod to Coast baseball stadium

BILOXI — Plans for a minor league baseball stadium and neighboring commercial development in downtown Biloxi are consistent with the city’s 2009 Comprehensive Plan, according to a vote last night by the city’s Planning Commission.

The Sun Herald reports the city council hasn’t yet voted on whether to borrow $21 million in general obligation bonds to help finance construction of a stadium.

Whether the stadium should be built wasn’t the issue of the meeting, said city attorney Michael Collins, just whether plans for the ballpark and other commercial development fit with the city’s Comprehensive Plan for urban renewal.

He said the plan actually encourages the redevelopment of the 12-acre site north of the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino on U.S. 90 that is the proposed stadium site.

“An anchor for the downtown area is a goal,” Collins said.

If the city council votes to build the ballpark there, Collins said the stadium will be in the middle of the site and possibly a hotel. The north end will be reserved for future commercial development that will enhance and benefit the rest of the property, he said.

Maps on display at the Community Development building showed the business corridor along Caillavet Street and the downtown. Collins said the plan for the stadium carves out a very small portion of that area all in one block.

Mayor A.J. Holloway said after the meeting that he believes Biloxi will get a baseball stadium.

Councilman Robert Deming III said he is still studying all the information.

“If any of us are hesitant,” he said of the council members, “it’s to see what the final terms are.”

The intrinsic value of the park to the community isn’t in question, he said. “Now we need to make sure it’s not a financial detriment.”

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