MS Coast cleans up for arrival of high profile guests

By Danielle Thomas - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Organizers of a beach front clean up say they're helping the Mississippi Gulf Coast put its best foot forward when it steps into the national spotlight. The National Governors Association will hold its annual meeting in Biloxi next week.

Saturday morning to get ready for the governors arrival, volunteers cleaned a 16 mile stretch along Highway 90.

From Biloxi's Point Cadet to the Gulfport-Long Beach line, volunteers walked along Highway 90 picking up trash.

"Honestly a lot of cigarette butts which was kind of depressing in a way, beer bottles, stuff like that." said volunteer Steven Baum.

Volunteers had extra incentive to get up early for the Harrison County Beach Boulevard Clean Up. The National Governors Conference starts on Friday. Some people say they're embarrassed by the amount of trash.

Volunteer Greg Stewart said, "We've got people coming in from out of town. We need to put on our best face and get our streets cleaned up. They're our streets. This is our backyard."

Local leaders say if our area can impress the high profile visitors, it could create a boost for the Gulf Coast economy.

"One thing we know is that we're a tourist destination," said District One Supervisor Windy Swetman. "We want the rest of the world to understand we are a tourist destination, and that we are open for business. So when the governors come down here and they see this Mississippi Gulf Coast, we want them going back to all their different states talking about the beauty."

Still others say they're out here doing their part not because of who's coming to town but because they want to help the community.

Volunteer Eric Zimmerman said, "I still care because as an American, that's what we do. We all have to come together sometimes. You put service before self."

Organizers say among the volunteers Saturday were about 200 Airmen from Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi.

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