Leaders urge everyone to help "clean up the coast"

By Steve Phillips - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The national media will descend upon the Mississippi Gulf Coast one month from now. That's when the National Governor's Association will be holding its annual meeting in Biloxi.

And that's why local leaders are urging residents and business owners to help clean-up the coast before that convention begins.

There's an old saying which says: You only have one chance to make a "first impression." And community leaders say there's some cleaning-up to do before company arrives next month.

City of Biloxi beautification workers plant summer flowers near the Vieux Marche. It's the kind of attention to appearance that makes a good impression with visitors.

"Makes it look good. That's what we're trying to do. To make it look good.  That's the main thing. To make it nice for our visitors that come in and tourists and everybody else," said crew leader Pam Harper.

While flowers are nice, overflowing trash barrels on the beach might make visitors wince.

"Stinky job ain't the word for it," said sand beach worker Mike Taylor, as he unloaded an overflowing trash can.

Garbage left in the sand or alongside roads is unacceptable for a destination wanting to welcome visitors.

"With the media attention that's coming with this group, all eyes are going to be on us," said the director of the Biloxi Bay Chamber of Commerce.

Tina Ross-Seamans says it's important everyone pitch in.

"We're hoping to roll out the red carpet for them. Give them our Southern hospitality welcome. And we need to clean up. We need to make sure the house is clean, streets are clean, all the litter is up. And if everybody does their part, I think we'll make a very good impression on them," she said.

"We've just got to stress more than ever, no littering. When people have a pride and sense of ownership in their community, they won't litter on it," said Harrison County Supervisor Connie Rockco.

City of Gulfport beautification crews are also busy along Highway 90, picking up litter and tending to flower beds.

Harrison County Sand Beach Director Bobby Weaver also got word from M-DOT about some extra clean-up in advance of the conference.

"And it's going to be wonderful. They're going to be sweeping the bridges. They're going to be moving the grass on I-10. Working the medians on Highway  90," said Beautification Director Jolie Spiers.

The National Governor's Association meets at the coliseum convention center July 17th through the 20th.

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