OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Three Ocean Springs business owners are stepping up to help the city pay to turn the lights back on at Freedom Field. The owners of Solar Control, Big Shirley's Restaurant, and Big O's Sports Bar say they felt compelled to help once they found out how many citizens used the park.
"I think soccer is a great sport for anybody to play. Men, women, boys, girls, any age. It keeps everybody in shape, and it keeps them off the street and gives everybody some fun to enjoy themselves," said Joe Williams, owner of Solar Control.
"This is my new home, Ocean Springs. And there's no way I can come here and take all the beauty and leave without putting something back," said Michael Dummett, the owner of Big Shirley's.
Oren Zweig, who owns Big O's, said he understands that running a city is expensive, and feels as a community member and business owner he should pitch in.
Along with Freedom Field, the city had to turn the lights off at four other parks to cut down on energy costs.
"Right now, we're going to keep those closed: Gay-Lemon, Lemoyne, Clay Boyd. They have security lighting, of course, but not enough for the lights on. Steven Parker Field, those four will remain closed," said Mayor Connie Moran.
Spencer Buskirk, who first addressed the board with concerns about Freedom Field, said he is excited people will be able to use the park at night again, but still has concerns about the future of the field.
"I greatly appreciate the sponsorship and the generosity of those folks. But at the same time, we don't want that to be a permanent fix, that the city is relying on private businesses to now run the parks," said Buskirk.
Mayor Moran said the donations are enough to keep the lights on at Freedom Field every night of the week. She said the city is looking into changing the lights out at several parks to make them more energy efficient.