Gilich seeks Cuban interest in Biloxi, baseball

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich will lead a small local delegation on an economic development and family support mission to Cuba this week.

Gilich and Biloxi’s Civic Innovation & Development Officer F. Cliff Kirkland have spent more than a year pursuing the possibility of bringing the Cuban National Baseball Team to play a series of games in MGM Park. They recently met in Washington D.C. with Miguel Fraga, the First Secretary of the Cuban Embassy. Fraga encouraged their visit to Cuba and is planning his own visit to Biloxi and the Mississippi Coast.

“Getting the Cuban National Baseball Team to Biloxi would be a substantial benefit to promoting our stadium and opening the door to future trade and tourism possibilities with Cuba,” Gilich said. “Baseball is hugely popular in Cuba and MGM Park has quickly established itself as a baseball focal point with the Biloxi Shuckers, college and high school games, and the Conference USA Championship. We want to bring Cuba’s best players to Biloxi and show them our first class facility and show their country and businesses our first class hospitality.”

Cuba and the United States began reestablishing relations during the last years of President Obama’s Administration. Although President Trump has indicated he favors a more hardline approach to Cuba, the possibility of growing trade between the two countries is being pursued in Congress.

“This trip will allow us to make progress on our efforts to bring the Cuban baseball team to Biloxi, and it also gives us a great opportunity to promote Biloxi and the Mississippi Coast to Cuban officials,” said Kirkland, who also serves as a board member of the Harrison County Development Commission.

Joining Mayor Gilich and Kirkland on the four-day trip to Havana are Gulfport businessmen Shorty Sneed and Frank Bordeaux, Biloxi doctor Mike Diaz and Bobby Carter of the Golden Nugget. Diaz and Carter have made numerous humanitarian trips to Cuba.


News and notes

Council meetings: The Biloxi City Council will conduct another budget workshop Tuesday at 10:30 a.m., followed by a regularly scheduled council meeting at 1:30 p.m. Among the issues on the afternoon agenda: Approval of new firms for garbage, trash and recycling services; an agreement for the design of an overhead pedestrian walkway from the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor to north of U.S. 90; a funding proposal for the new Cedar Lake fire station; and change orders that would add 14 days and $93,000 to the multi-million-dollar east Biloxi infrastructure contract. To see the agendas and supporting documents, click here.

The week in review: So just how busy were the Biloxi Police, Fire and Community Development departments last week? Read the reports from last week by clicking here.

House fire video: Biloxi firefighters on Sunday afternoon responded to a Forrest Avenue house fire that was apparently sparked by lightning. To see video from the scene, click here.