In many ways, Biloxi has had a slow economic recovery since Hurricane Katrina. So many businesses in the downtown area are counting on the baseball stadium coming to Biloxi.
Kress Live in the Vieux Marche is gearing up for another big weekend. The newly opened music venue chose to locate in downtown Biloxi because of long term projects like the baseball stadium. Chase Taylor of Kress Live says, “It’s going to offer some immediate traffic and some walk around traffic, which is what we've tried to accomplish as a destination location for a long time.”
A number of businesses have either already come to the area or are planning to do so in the near future. The stadium is spurring development throughout the downtown area. Jerry Creel, the Biloxi Director of Community Development, says, “What happens is you put an anchor on that corner and you start to get increased development nearby. You start to get increased development downtown.”
The stadium is critical to Biloxi's plan to revitalize the downtown area. It’s what the economic developers call an ‘anchor.’ It’s something other businesses can rely on to keep customers coming to the area. Creel also says, “It was a part of our comprehensive plan. It was designed to put a major anchor there.”
The stadium also offers variety. In a city that for years has relied on gaming as its main attraction, the stadium gives tourists a different reason to come to Biloxi. Taylor says, “Bars and restaurants and art galleries and things of that nature that really help a downtown area and an economic area thrive.”
Businesses like Kress Live have a vision to make the Gulf Coast a destination, and for them, diversity is key to attracting outsiders. Taylor closes, “An area that's a typical night stay of two nights. Just imagine if we could make it four nights. That's a 100% increase.”