Gilich: ‘Thank you for making it a great weekend’

“I thought everything went great,” Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich says of the Biloxi weekend that saw its share of huge events: the inaugural Shuckers home game at the brand-new MGM Park, the Blessing of the Fleet and Shrimp Festival, an outdoor concert at Harrah’s Great Lawn, and the summer fair at the Coast Coliseum.

“I think everyone could get around well, considering the number of events and people we had in the city,” Gilich said. “We certainly want to thank everyone for their patience when traffic did get heavy, and we want to thank everyone for making it such a great weekend. These are just the signs of things to come.”

Biloxi Police Chief John Miller reported that only two arrests were made downtown over the weekend. Both were drug-related and were not in MGM Park. Police were forced to tow only two cars.

“I think Mayor Gilich hit the nail on the head – we thank the public for following the parking signs and following the directions of officers. We appeared to have great crowds at all of the events taking place this weekend, and it appears that a lot of people used the free Coast Transit park-and-ride shuttle to get to the Shuckers game.”

Chris Foret of Coast Transit, which offered free park-and-ride service from east Biloxi casinos to downtown Biloxi, said 722 riders used the Casino Hopper route Saturday, far above the 426 Saturday average for this time of year.

Said Gilich: “We want to thank Coast Transit for offering this service well into the evening, and we want to thank our east Biloxi casinos for allowing fans to park at their facilities.”

The real star of the weekend, of course, was MGM Park.

“I heard nothing but good comments,” Gilich said. “The snowballs were good, the food was good, and the park was spectacular. And, of course, we won the game.”

Police plan to continue their traffic plan, with a few tweaks, Miller said. You may not see Howard Avenue at the stadium closed, and if you do, it may be for a short period, Miller observed. “The Caillavet plan worked really well. We plan to keep Caillavet northbound only from U.S. 90 to  Howard at game times. Closing the two southbound lanes meant handicapped fans could drive right up to the front gate to enter the park. That worked well.”

Added Miller: “We’ll look at the plan, and tweak it a little because we think we can do it better. We may be able to do it with fewer than the 24 officers we had for downtown. One thing that I thought was great was that we had no reports of auto burglaries downtown. We had officers on bikes and patrolling the downtown area to deter this type of activity and it worked well.”
See aerial video of MGM Park opening
See video of the Game Day Experience
See photos from the Game Day Experience