OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Ocean Springs bar owners spoke and the city listened. The board of aldermen voted in a special meeting Thursday morning to close Government St. to vehicle traffic for a nighttime St. Patrick's Day celebration.
Mayor Connie Moran said the street will be closed to vehicle traffic from Washington Ave. to Russell Ave. starting at 6 p.m. Friday. The closure will last no later than midnight.
St. Patrick's Day is known as one of the biggest party days of the year. Bar owners asked city leaders to take extra safety measures, even though a city sponsored festival style event isn't planned.
"It's the biggest one day event we do all year," said Kwitzky's Dugout owner Kris Kwitzky.
With expected large crowds, bar owners along Government St. will be pleased with the city's decision.
"It's a lot of people down here, and I think public safety is at a premium," Kwitzky said. "We have to make sure that everybody has a good time and they get home safe."
"It being Friday and also one of our popular pubs, The Flying Irishman, will be closing, they'll be going out with a big boom," said Moran. "So, we expect a lot of people and we want it to be safe."
Moran said the street closure will cost the city more than $2,000 to cover police, public works, and materials.
The Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a St. Patrick's Day celebration with participating businesses offering discounts on Friday.