Jackson County

Update: Ocean Springs makes Government a walkway for St. Patrick’s

Visitors walk among the shops and restaurants along Government Street in Ocean Springs. Aldermen voted to limit the street to pedestrian traffic only Friday night for St. Patrick’s Day festivities.
Visitors walk among the shops and restaurants along Government Street in Ocean Springs. Aldermen voted to limit the street to pedestrian traffic only Friday night for St. Patrick’s Day festivities. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com File

Aldermen voted Thursday morning to close Government Street on Friday, beginning at 6 p.m.

They expect it to remain closed until midnight between Washington and Russell avenues, but will leave the closing time to the discretion of police who will be on duty.

Bar owners and businesses have called for the move, even though they didn’t make a formal event request. Mayor Connie Moran said the city views it as a public-safety issue.

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, and the city’s only Irish bar downtown, The Flying Irishman, is having a big last hurrah before it closes.

Friday nights downtown already are bustling at restaurants and bars. With the added St. Patrick’s Day celebration, city officials wanted to make sure people would be safe and be able to spill out into the street as they go from business to business Friday night.

Costs for closing that portion of Government that will be absorbed by the city: $1,200 for police, $450 for public works and $400 for additional materials and equipment costs.

St. Patrick’s Day will be an all-day celebration, 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.

The Flying Irishman is at 1213 Government Street. The business is expected to reopen under new management.

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