Experienced MiLB operator Ken Young is meeting tomorrow with the Biloxi City Council about his plans to bring a Class AA Southern League team to a new downtown ballpark.
Young, with ownership stakes in the Albuquerque Isotopes (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), Norfolk Tides (Class AAA; International League), Bowie BaySox (Class AA; Eastern League) and Frederick Keys (High Class A; Carolina League). This would bring Young back to five MiLB team (he previously owned the Delmarva Shorebirds as well), and he sounds like he's set to go with a 2015 ballpark opening. Instead of pushing for a quick opening, as Tim Bennett did during his talks with the city, Young is realistic about needing 16-18 months to properly build a new ballpark -- and we're some 18 months away from the 2015 season opener, so the time is now to finalize a deal. Young will stress the economic and psychological lifts potentially arising from a ballpark deal. From the Sun-Herald:
With 70 home games, a team brings people downtown and businesses follow. "It adds life," he said....
He already can envision walking into the stadium opening night, feeling the fan reaction and feeling like a kid again. What minor league baseball does for a community, he said, is add to the quality of life and unify a region....
For the baseball purist it can be all about the game. For families, "It's everything going on around the baseball game," he said. They enjoy the music, the scoreboard and between inning contests. When they leave, Young said some of the fans don't know the final score but they know they had fun.
After some buyer's remorse following the initial approval of a bond issue for ballpark financing, it sounds like the City Council is ready to move forward with a deal, contingent on Young's purchase of a team.
Rendering courtesy of Dale Associates Architects.
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