Local

Here’s what could soon revive Harrison County Skate Park

Jailan Williams, 12, of Ocean Springs, takes a break from skating at the Harrison County Skate Park on Sunday, August 25, 2013. The park was leased to a film studio a short time later.
Jailan Williams, 12, of Ocean Springs, takes a break from skating at the Harrison County Skate Park on Sunday, August 25, 2013. The park was leased to a film studio a short time later. jmitchell@sunherald.com

The Harrison County Board of Supervisors and the Biloxi School Board will be able to choose from proposals for an indoor roller skate park, a TV/film school, an indoor ice rink and an indoor/outdoor soccer facility.

The two boards will meet Thursday at 1 p.m. at the Harrison County Courthouse in Biloxi to review the proposals for a business to replace a failed film studio that last occupied what was once a public skate park. Harrison County owns the buildings and the school district owns the land.

Kevin Mattina of Biloxi said his bid represented several businesses and partnerships “soon to be” known as Soccer Life LLC. He said Soccer Life wants to offer indoor and outdoor soccer, knockerball soccer (the players are encased in inflatable spheres), beach soccer, soccer pool, soccer camps and soccer tournaments.

Mattina said they would also have inflatables on the grounds, which would include the old Fernwood school near the skate park, for parties.

Soccer Life

Soccer Life would offer an elite training program, the Biloxi City Futbol Club, and would develop fields on the Fernwood property. Footgolf also could be coming to the Fernwood land.

“The economic impact will have a significant value to this area and the MS Gulf Coast by creating jobs and as a tourist attraction for years to come,” Mattina wrote in the proposal. “The indoor soccer field paves the road for a professional indoor soccer team to return to the Coast.”

The skate park would be a training facility should a pro team materialize and that team would play games at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, he said.

He proposes to pay $2,000 a month during the first year, $3,000 a month the second year and then 1.5 percent of gross sales the next three years. He wants to have an option to renew for the next 15 years.

Planet Ice

Co-founders of the last hockey team to play on the Coast and another pro hockey coach want to bring hockey back.

Danny Smith, Rick Dedeaux and Bo Lindsay want to market the facility as Planet Ice and would pay the estimated $500,000 cost of converting the indoor rink to an ice rink. They would offer an array of activities, including free skating lessons, public ice skating, youth hockey, adult hockey, junior hockey, college hockey, figure skating and broom ball. The facility would be available for office outings and birthday parties as well.

According to the proposal:

Smith operates Planet Ice in Lafayette, La., and a junior hockey team there. He is a former owner of the Louisiana Ice Gators, a Southern Professional Hockey League team.

Dedeaux is a Gulfport building contractor and former partner in the Mississippi Surge, an SPHL team that played at the Coliseum.

Lindsay is a Gulfport commercial insurance and loan broker and also a former managing partner in the Surge.

After converting the rink to ice, which they say would take about 60 days, the group would pay $2,000 a month except for June, July and August, when rent would be $1,000 to offset anticipated higher utility costs.

Film school

Gonzaflex Productions proposes a partnership with the school board and county on the TV/film school.

Fancisco Gonazalez, president of the firm, said he was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and has been in the film business since 1976. He came to Biloxi in 1983. He has led the MS Coast Film & TV Group for the past three years, he said.

“I am aware you have already experienced the ‘not so successful’ lease with Gulf Coast Studios,” he wrote in his proposal. “After reading the lease ... I understand why the project was not successful for both parties.”

He said one of the reason for its failure was the lack of a trained workforce and that is why he is proposing a training facility. He said he wants to open a school offering training classes of one to four weeks, not to compete with USM’s four-year film school.

He said Gonzaflex would be responsible for upkeep and groundskeeping. He would pay instructors 30 percent of the money collected from students, another 30 percent would be split by the county and school district and 40 percent would go to Gonzaflex. The company would be responsible for advertising, general liability for students and instructors, the required equipment and management of the property. He said classes would include camera, grip, electric, lighting, dolly operation, sound, acting, catering, set construction, transportation, editing, film etiquette, wardrobe techniques and hair and makeup design.

Mystery offer

Little information is available for the fourth proposal other than it comes from A&A Entertainment LLC, which wants to operate an indoor skate park from 8 to 11 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. A&S would pay $2,000 a month under a three-year lease with three-year renewal options.

A&A isn’t listed with the Secretary of State and the numbers listed on the proposal went unanswered.

Paul Hampton: 228-896-2330, @JPaulHampton

  Comments