After months of waiting, the trees are finally coming down at the site of Biloxi's new baseball stadium. Most of the people News 25 talked with are excited that work on the site is taking place, signifying the beginning of one of Biloxi's biggest construction projects to date. Snapping limbs and crashing branches lined the parking lot across the street from the Beau Rivage Thursday afternoon as construction crews toppled the live oaks on the property. Tim Bennett, co-owner of the team, says, "It’s just a culmination of the efforts from Mayor A.J. Holloway to the Governor, myself, and so many others that worked so hard to get us to this point, so we're excited. Today is a big day for baseball and the City of Biloxi." The livelihood of the trees had been a major concern for individuals involved in the planning of the project and for concerned citizens, but after the eviction of the trees began, it became clear they didn't have long to live anyway.
A W.C. Fore equipment operator says, "They got holes in ‘em this big around, and they’re rotten. They still had enough life in ‘em I suppose to stay green, but they were in bad condition." One of the major things that delayed this project was deciding what would happen to the trees, but now that they are being uprooted, officials say every single one will be replaced. Bennett also says, "The trees have been in pretty rough shape. We are saving as many of these trees as we possibly can and those that we take down, we will replace as part of the construction." Bennett played a major role in bringing baseball to Biloxi and is one of the team’s owners. He says that while seeing the trees go is bittersweet, he looks forward to seeing his dream come to life.
Bennett closes, "I'm excited. I know there’s a lot of work to be done in a year. We have another 12 months before we’re ready to play ball here and start the season and before you know it, ‘15 will be here, so I'm excited, but there’s a lot of work ahead." As Bennett says, there is still over a year’s worth of work to do at the site, but this is the first step in stadium construction.