BILOXI -- Mayor A.J. Holloway said Wednesday he can see the new baseball team being a sense of pride for Biloxi, South Mississippi and the state.
The stadium the council approved Tuesday offers opportunities for baseball fans, economic development and tourism, he said.
"I can see college games being played there," he told 150 people at the Biloxi Chamber's Breakfast with the Mayor at IP Casino Resort, and pitched matchups of Ole Miss and LSU and South Alabama and Southern Miss.
Beyond baseball, Holloway said he expects the stadium to host concerts, festivals and other community events.
"Now the challenge is to just get it built," he said.
Holloway said after his speech that downtown revitalization will be a bonus of the increase in people in Biloxi for 70 home games and other events. Vieux Marche, which decades ago was the center of downtown and now is lined with vacant buildings, could see new life, he said.
Plans were announced recently to enlarge and remodel the old federal building just down the street from Vieux Marche into a mix of commercial and residential. Those plans could turn a building that has been empty for 10 years into "a tremendous asset," he said.
Holloway said fans will find parking near the stadium, near City Hall, under Interstate 110 and on empty lots where owners can make some money by charging for parking.
"Do like they do in New Orleans," he said, referring to the way people park Saints fans who walk to the gates. "Stand out and wave them in."
Holloway also introduced new public works Director Dan Gaillet and said the new bait shop at the Small Craft Harbor should be open by summer.