Harrison County

Harrison County skate park property is ‘cursed,’ supervisor says

Kevin Mattina of the Coast Athletic Club envisioned using similar inflatables at the skate park.
Kevin Mattina of the Coast Athletic Club envisioned using similar inflatables at the skate park. Courtesy Kickmaster

Shortly after she took office in the district that includes the Harrison County Skate Park, Supervisor Connie Rockco said someone told her of a portentous event there.

During construction, the story goes, a bulldozer rolled over and caught on fire.

“It’s cursed, I swear,” Rockco said. “I said that was y’all’s sign right there.”

Harrison County certainly hasn’t had any luck finding a tenant who can keep a business up and running there.

If the county gets its way, the latest tenant, the Coast Athletic Club, will be out of the park. Supervisors on Monday agreed to terminate the lease because the club, which has an indoor soccer field there, hadn’t paid rent or the cost of utilities.

County attorney Tim Holleman, in a letter to club leader Kevin Mattina, said Mattina sold bleachers from the main building on the complex. Holleman said the bleachers, which were worth more than $80,000, were sold for scrap by Mattina.

Holleman said he’ll refer that matter to the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office. The letter said under terms of the lease, the club must restore the building to its original condition with the bleachers.

Rockco said the county already has changed the locks.

A video on the club’s Facebook page shows artificial turf being installed and says there will be no indoor soccer the week of Nov. 6 while the club picks up equipment for the facility. Mattina hasn’t returned phone calls.

WXXV-TV reported that Harrison County sheriff’s officials were removing items from inside the space Tuesday afternoon.

The park had some success early on when the Mississippi Sea Wolves were playing at the Coast Coliseum and a lot of kids were interested in playing inline hockey there. There also was an outdoor park with rails, bowls and ramps.

In 2008, the Mississippi Roller Girls began having roller derby at the indoor rink. They were replaced by a movie studio that folded without making a film last year.

Mattina’s proposal won over three others: an ice hockey/skating venture, a film school and a roller rink.

The park’s location is a bit different. It’s in Biloxi even though it’s on the Gulfport side of DeBuys Road. That’s because the land is owned by the Biloxi School District. The county owns just the buildings and other structures. Any venture has to earn the approval of both the county Board of Supervisors and the School Board.

Paul Hampton: 228-284-7296, @JPaulHampton