Hattiesburg, Mississippi – This week, Mayor Toby Barker announced Betsy Mercier as his director appointment for Hattiesburg Parks & Recreation.
As the director, she will lead the following five divisions that fall under Parks & Recreation: grounds & maintenance, ballfields, community centers, programming and cemetery & urban forestry.
Mercier has served as the department’s interim director since early 2023. In that time, her leadership has included the following achievements:
- Implemented key upgrades at several city-operated facilities, including three community pools, the splash pad at Dewitt Sullivan Park, bleacher coverings at Vernon Dahmer Park and new courts at Kamper Park
- Led the summer camp team through a new format which resulted in hosting an average of 75 students (ages 5 to 12) across two campsites each week for five weeks
- Initiated the City’s inaugural Parks & Recreation week with events programmed for all ages, while expanding the scope of education for what each division of Parks & Recreation entails
- Helped the City host the DYB World Series event at Tatum Park with more than 20 teams across the Southeast in attendance
“Throughout her tenure with the City of Hattiesburg, Betsy Mercier has led from the front, with an unmatched work ethic and dedication to each and every task she is given,” said Barker. “She has already made tremendous progress in facilities and operations as interim director, and we look forward to all she will help the Parks & Recreation Department accomplish in the coming years.”
Mercier began working for the City of Hattiesburg in 2017 while serving as the assistant to the mayor. In this role, she managed the Mayor’s Office and special projects, including but not limited to coordinating the City’s response to large-scale events that encompass multiple departments, overseeing the Mayor’s Youth Council, serving as the City’s liaison to community partners and troubleshooting day-to-day concerns on behalf of Hattiesburg residents.
“I am grateful for the administration’s faith in me and the support that the cabinet has provided to me during the last several months,” said Mercier. “As a fifth-generation Hattiesburger, I have grown up on our soccer fields, taken field trips to our playgrounds, painted with local artists and truly enjoyed growing up in a place I love. I believe Parks & Recreation plays a vital role in our residents’ quality of life, from youth sports and the arts to maintaining the places and spaces where so many life events take place. We have a really great team to continue the momentum we’re already experiencing, and I look forward to working alongside all employees to do just that.”
Mercier’s appointment will be on the Hattiesburg City Council agenda for review and approval on Tuesday, October 18.