Biloxi looks to create fireworks-free zone on beach

Biloxi looks to create fireworks-free zone on beach

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Every Fourth of July, thousands gather on the beach in east Biloxi to enjoy a massive fireworks display. People pop fireworks on the beach and it can be dangerous and annoying.

That's why Biloxi wants to create a one mile long, fireworks-free zone from Oak St. to the Small Craft Harbor.

"I think it's more comfortable and more family oriented. You can bring lawn chairs and not have to worry about a bottle rocket going by your head, or kids running around. It's a natural amphitheater down there. There are other places where fireworks are more tolerated on the beach," said Biloxi Mayor FoFo Gilich.

Technically, fireworks are not allowed on the beach in Harrison County without a permit. Authorities have traditionally looked the other way in the spirit of Independence Day.

Gulfport established a fireworks free zone on the beach between 15th street and Jones Park in 2015, with the permission of the Harrison County Board of Supervisors After positive feedback, the city plans to do it again.

If Biloxi wants to follow in Gulfport's footsteps, the city will have to reach out to the board as well. In the meantime, Mayor Gilich has asked the Biloxi Police Department to come up with an official policy.

"We'll start early letting people know. We'll have signs made, we'll try and enforce it. I expect there to be problems because people have used fireworks down there for as long as I can remember. We'll try and get to them quickly and tell them that," noted Chief John Miller.

Banning fireworks has been discussed before, and Biloxi leaders thinks it could be the start of an even more spectacular show.

"We could be in the position to do something like the Boston Pops with music on a barge. It's just something we're kicking around," said Gilich.

Biloxi city leaders want residents to give their input on the proposal via a poll on the city's website. Shortly before 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, 77 percent of voters agree with the ban.

Copyright 2016 WLOX. All rights reserved.