“Dreams come true, and here we are to show that it will be a reality,” said Bryant, who has pledged $15 million to the construction project from a federal grant following the 2009 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. “The Gulf Coast 2020 commission that I put together discussed how we could best use the BP revenue to move the Gulf Coast forward.
“Two of the things they said was there were a significant lack of family activities … and an inability to attract large sporting events. Here we are. It don’t get any better than this. This is exactly what we planned, what we talked about, what we dreamed about.”
The team does not yet have a name, which will be determined through a “name the team” contest in the coming months. The Huntsville Stars, Double-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers, will move to Biloxi after the 2014 season.
Opening Day 2015 is less than 15 months away, and the construction site for MGM Park remains a parking lot despite Thursday’s festivities. The Biloxi City Council must give final construction approval, but Bennett said he is confident the stadium will be ready for play in April of next year.
“I brought the Braves to (Pearl) 10 years ago, and it took us about a year to get that stadium completed,” Bennett said. “So we feel like we’ve got enough time to do what we need to do here, as long as we get on it pretty soon.”