Jackson County

Ocean Springs looks at closing Government to cars on St. Paddy’s Day

A driver gets into her car as motorists wait to pass on Government Street in Ocean Springs on Thursday Feb. 6, 2014. Ocean Springs may close Government Street to vehicle traffic for Friday evening.
A driver gets into her car as motorists wait to pass on Government Street in Ocean Springs on Thursday Feb. 6, 2014. Ocean Springs may close Government Street to vehicle traffic for Friday evening. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com

The city will likely close Government Street to vehicles Friday for its St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

No business formally asked for the closure, but Mayor Connie Moran said some of the aldermen view it as a public-safety issue.

Government Street, with its bars and restaurants, is already popular as a night spot on Fridays and Saturdays. Now add St. Patrick’s Day, she said.

“And it’s the Flying Irishman’s last hurrah,” she said. The city’s only Irish bar, at 1213 Government Street, will be closing for new ownership.

The Board of Aldermen will officially decide on the street closure at a special meeting Thursday morning, but Moran said, “I think we’ll do it.

“We want everyone to enjoy themselves and be safe, be able to spill into the streets.”

The plan is to close the street between Washington and Russell avenues, in the heart of downtown, at 5 p.m. A notice would go to cars parked in the area at 4 p.m.

Any time the city closes a street and puts up barricades, added police are needed, the mayor said.

She said it will be up to the police on duty when the street will reopen, depending on the crowds.

St. Patrick’s Day will be an all-day celebration Friday, Moran said. The Chamber of Commerce is encouraging retailers to offers refreshments during the day, and the restaurants and bars will have added treats at night.

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