Harrison County

Movie studio folds, hockey could be back at skate park

Connie Rockco, Harrison County supervisor
Connie Rockco, Harrison County supervisor

GULFPORT -- Hockey could be returning to the old Harrison County Skate Park.

Entrepreneurs tried to turn the park on DeBuys Road in Gulfport into a movie studio but it appears that venture has gone out of business.

"They never could get any business going and supposedly they blamed the state," said Connie Rockco, Harrison County Board of Supervisors president. "You'd have to ask them why. They paid their bills."

She said she has had calls from several people interested in the property.

"We have some people who are interested in turning it back into a hockey facility," she said. "We're just going to open it back up and see what's the best deal. We didn't want to make a profit, we just don't want to have the large expenditures we've had in the past."

At Monday's board meeting, supervisors will consider declaring the property surplus and advertising for leases. Any deal would require the approval of the Biloxi School Board because the district owns part of the property, Rockco said.

Mississippi Gulf Coast Studio, which had leased the property, could not be reached. Its link on the Mississippi Film Office website is broken and messages left at the office weren't returned.

Ward Emling, director of the Mississippi Film Office, in an emailed response, didn't talk about the reason the studio folded.

"The Mississippi Gulf Coast Studios facility was run by a company who negotiated a contract with the Harrison County Board of Supervisors and the Biloxi School District," he wrote "While that company is no longer associated with the facility, we continue to regard the facility as a strong and legitimate location option as both a soundstage and as a production office; and the property remains an attractive infrastructure component for the development of the film industry on the Coast."

Paula Lindsay, one of the partners in the venture, didn't return messages, either.

In 2014, when the studio took over the building, Lindsay told the Sun Herald she was turning projects away while waiting to finalize the deal to take over the park.

"We've had so many people that have been calling us and they're ready to bring the films in," she said. "So we're excited about it."

Among the groups that had been using the skate park were the Mississippi Roller Girls, a roller derby team that, like the film industry, needs a large building with no center beams. They have been playing at the Duo Dance Event Center in Gautier.