OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - With trick-or-treaters, art lovers and night life patrons all coming to Ocean Springs Halloween weekend, city leaders believe they've come up with a plan that will make everyone happy. Aldermen voted to close sections of Washington Avenue and Government Street for trick-or-treating Friday night. The streets will then reopen for a few hours before closing again ahead of the Peter Anderson Art Festival.
Large festivals and special events in downtown Ocean Springs mean many more customers for businesses, like Broadway Bar and Grill. But when it was first announced that several downtown streets would close beginning Friday night and not reopen until Sunday afternoon, some business owners were concerned about how it would affect their bottom line.
"Some other business owners and myself thought it would be a good idea to approach the council and ask them to open the streets, being that it was a Friday night. Being a small business, we rely on weekends to help out, and having the streets closed during peak hours of business for us hinders our ability to make money," said Brian Ladner.
After downtown trick-or-treating ends around 9:30 p.m., Ocean Springs officials say crews will reopen the closed sections of Government Street and Washington Avenue for the next four and a half hours.
City officials say there is some added expense to moving barricades back and forth.
"We were just trying to save money, but the business owners came up and requested that we open them for their business to help them with people patronizing their businesses and easy access to their businesses. So we decided to go ahead and open the road from 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.," said John Gill.
The streets will close again at 2 a.m. so Peter Anderson vendors can begin to set up. City leaders tell WLOX they'll make every effort not to tow any cars.
"They're trying to make it as friendly to the vendors, as well as the guests who are attending the functions. They're trying to make it where no one has to get their car towed. Give plenty of notice. Put up signage for everyone. Making sure it's clear where you can and cannot park," said Ladner.
The St. Alphonsus Festival is also slated to take place that weekend. Both city leaders and business owners say they're trying to be flexible to make it an enjoyable time for everyone.