GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Some Gulfport leaders believe the city needs to develop a set of rules for turning city streets into movie sets. On Tuesday, the city council received a request from a production company to shut down part of 23rd Avenue in less than a week. The city approved it on a conditional basis, but city leaders said Gulfport needs a policy on how much notice movie makers need to give when wanting to film on public streets.
Twenty-third Avenue from 19th Street to 23rd Street is where crews would like to shoot part of the movie "Impact Earth."
Council Member Ella Holmes-Hines said, "Movie making is becoming one of the greatest things that's happening on the Coast from Florida to Georgia to Louisiana."
The production company asked Gulfport for permission to close part of 23rd Avenue for four hours this coming Monday. The request says Council members didn't received the request until Tuesday. City officials said they're concerned that's too short of a notice for businesses, homeowners, and the Harrison County Courthouse, which is on 23rd Avenue.
"This also crosses over to Harrison County because this is the Harrison County Courthouse that they're going to be in front of," said Councilman Ricky Dombrowski. "So we need some communication between our people and their people to make sure we're not disrupting the county court system."
Gulfport leaders asked the city attorney to do research to help develop a policy regarding how much of an advance notice should be given to those affected by closing public streets for private use.
"We asked for a general policy because these movie makers are dynamic and fluid and their schedules change," said Councilman Rusty Walker. "They really need to have a policy they can count on. Come to the administration. Know what they can do. Know what they can't do. And not have to wait a month to get on a council agenda."
Officials said they have to make sure movie making isn't on the taxpayer dime.
"These shut downs cost us money. The police have to man them. The police have to staff them," said Walker. "If they do cost money, then we'd like them to handle those shutdowns themselves. I think the council would generally like to see we develop a policy where the movie makers do their own shutdowns and coordinate them with our city. That way we don't have city manpower on them. "
Gulfport leaders said they approved the request on a conditional basis because they need to consult with Harrison County Courthouse officials and determine if the Gulfport Police Department will be reimbursed for the use of its officers to close the street.