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Baseball team owner wants quick vote on stadium

BILOXI — Ken Young is ready to bring a minor league baseball team to Biloxi. He said yesterday he’s hoping for a vote by the end of the month so the stadium can be built in time for the start of the 2015 season.

The Sun Herald reports the vote isn’t on the agenda for the city council’s Tuesday meeting, but could be added or placed on the Sept. 24 agenda.

The Beau Rivage Resort and Casino has agreed to lease the city 12 acres for $1 a year for 20 years. Gov. Phil Bryant kicked in $15 million from a BP grant provided to the state.

The project still needs Biloxi council approval to back a $21 million bond to build the ballpark on U.S. 90, in what is now a parking lot across from the Beau Rivage.

“It’s in your ballpark,” Gary Higginbotham of D’Iberville told the council during attendee comments at a special meeting Thursday. He said the residents and tourists in South Mississippi should be able to support a team for the region.

Young, who owns four minor league baseball teams and a hockey team, is buying a fifth baseball franchise. He can’t yet identify the team, but when it moves to Biloxi, the team will have a new name, new stadium, new mascot and new fans.

The stadium also will bring local jobs, which Councilman Felix Gines said is very important.

Young, who owns Ovations Food Services, was named Baseball America Minor League Executive of the Year in 2009. He bought the International League Norfolk Tides 21 years ago, followed by the Eastern League Bowie Baysox, the Carolina League Frederick Keys and the Pacific Coast League Albuquerque Isotopes.

The Biloxi team would play in the Southern League.

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