Hattiesburg Mayor Barker Assumes Presidency and City Wins Top Award at Mississippi Municipal League Conference

Hattiesburg Mayor Barker Assumes Presidency and City Wins Top Award at Mississippi Municipal League Conference

Hattiesburg, Mississippi – During the Mississippi Municipal League’s 92nd Annual Conference held this week on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Hattiesburg’s Mayor Toby Barker ascended to the office of President. The City of Hattiesburg also took home the conference’s top award “Best Overall,” highlighting the Hattiesburg Pocket Museum and Alley.

Barker is honored to continue his service to the League and all of Mississippi’s cities, towns and villages.

“Leading this organization is not a role I take lightly,” said Barker. “We’re at a critical time in our state where cities and residents need vocal leaders who will work hard on their behalf. With the unprecedented availability of federal and state-based infrastructure funds and a strong need for continued legislative support, I look forward to working with our executive team to move our state forward.”

Barker added, “Greenville and Greenwood Mayors Simmons and McAdams have paved the way for us over the last two years, and I am excited about working with Cleveland Mayor Billy Nowell as First Vice President, Woodland Mayor Patti Pettit as Second Vice President and the MML staff to keep that momentum alive.”

Barker was elected by the MML membership to the Second Vice President position in June 2021 during the 89th Annual Conference, which positioned him to serve as President in 2023. He is the third Hattiesburg Mayor to serve in the top spot, which includes service by Mayors Ed Morgan and Johnny DuPree.

In addition to Barker’s leadership position, the City of Hattiesburg received “Best Overall” during the 2023 Municipal Excellence Awards which highlighted the Hattiesburg Pocket Museum and Alley.

In 2019, city officials began working with property owners that flanked either side of a small alley with the goal to transform an underutilized space into something special.

Fast-tracked by a need for safe and innovative ways to escape the isolation that came from COVID-19, the Hattiesburg Pocket Museum & Alley was born.

The museum – the brainchild of and managed by the Hattiesburg Convention Commission – features quirky and fun monthly exhibits, interactive murals and more. Supported by an infrastructure of new pavement, string lighting and picnic tables, the joint venture brings approximately 10,000 visitors to Downtown Hattiesburg each week.

“We’re grateful for the foresight and vision-forward thinking of Rick and Vicki Taylor and his team at the Hattiesburg Convention Commission,” said Barker. “Prior to 2020, this space was singularly used for trash pick-up. Now, it’s a source of joy, community and wonder for residents and visitors of all ages.”

This project was selected “Best Overall” of four different categories – planning, public safety, public works and city spirit.