The co-owner of a Biloxi baseball team more than likely will be the new manager of Smith-Wills Stadium.
The city of Jackson is in negotiations now with Kusche Sports Group to take over management of the facility on Lakeland Drive, months after ending its long-standing agreement with Northside businessman Con Maloney.
Kusche’s principal officer is Tim Bennett, co-owner of the Biloxi Shuckers minor league baseball team and manager of MGM Park, also in Biloxi.
At press time, the city’s park and recreation department had completed a review of Kusche’s proposal and was in contract negotiations with the firm.
“We’re banging out the contract as we speak. We’ll probably have a contract ready to submit to him (this) week and we’ll see what he says,” Parks Director Ison Harris said.
The city is taking its time with the contract, and Harris said that any agreement would be written with the goal of generating revenue.
Jackson hasn’t received revenues from the stadium in years but has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to maintain it.
In fiscal year 2018, for example, Jackson budgeted $107,157 for upkeep.
Said Harris, “We want to make sure it’s a win-win for the city.”
The city issued a request for proposals (RFP) late last year. Bids were opened on January 8. Only one firm, Kusche, responded to the request.
Kusche was formed on January 5, 2019, according to the Mississippi Secretary of State’s website. The agency’s registered agent and manager is listed as Bennett, and the address is listed as 1 Mac and Bones Blvd., in Pearl.
Bennett had previously been brought on by the city to do an evaluation of the 5,200-seat stadium and made several suggestions to make it a more successful events venue.
“We’re dealing with a facility that is structurally sound, but as far as modern amenities that other stadiums have, even high schools and D1 colleges have (amenities) that are far superior,” Bennett told the Sun previously.
Among other things, Bennett said the press facilities, bathrooms, concession areas, and fan comfort areas needed major upgrades.
LeFleur East Meeting
The LeFleur East Foundation will host its first annual summit Thursday, March 7, 5:30 p.m., at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum on Lakeland Drive.
The summit will focus on the future of the LeFleur East Foundation and will be a time to share the successes, goals, and upcoming projects in the area surrounding beautification, well-being, communication, and safety. First Lady of Mississippi Deborah Bryant will be on hand to discuss a new project coming to LeFleur East.
Drinks and appetizers will be offered from 5:30 to 6 p.m. before the meeting kicks off.
For more in information, call 601-813-4285.