Hattiesburg Parks and Recreation Takes Home Four Statewide Awards

Hattiesburg Parks and Recreation Takes Home Four Statewide Awards

Hattiesburg, Mississippi – The City of Hattiesburg’s Parks and Recreation department took home four awards across a variety of programs this week from this year’s annual conference for the Mississippi Recreation and Parks Association.

“These awards are a testament to the efforts of our employees who put hundreds of hours into programming for our community,” said Betsy Mercier, interim director. “From a creative addition to the City’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration and a program that encouraged movement to our annual clean-up event and hosting one of the largest baseball tournaments in the Gulf South – our Parks & Recreation department continues to elevate engagement opportunities while also maintaining facilities.”

Awards were given for the Confetti Countdown at Midnight on Front Street, the Winter Wellness Challenge, Make a Difference Day and the Dixie Youth World Series. 

“I’m proud of our staff and partners for the work they continue to do for annual events and innovative programming,” said Mayor Toby Barker. “Some have grown into community staples – with consistent growth in participation – and others have established new opportunities for engagement. Growing as a premier city in the Gulf South comes with a strategic approach to maintaining our parks and facilities and adding to the quality of life through programming, and our department continues to knock that out of the park.”

A list of the program awards and the designated award are provided below:

Confetti Countdown at Midnight on Front Street
Arts and Humanities Award of Merit- Single Program
As a part of the City’s annual New Year’s Eve Program, Midnight on Front Street, community partners collaborated to create a special presentation for families. This additional program began at 6:30 p.m. with family-friendly activities, crafts and concession in the Pocket Museum alley. A countdown for children took place at 8 p.m. that ended with a balloon pop. 

Winter Wellness Challenge
Recreation Programming Award of Merit- Single Program
This initiative encouraged all residents to cultivate new and healthy habits at the start of 2023. Each participant tracked the miles walked, jogged or run between January 6, 2023 and February 3, 2023. All participants who logged a total of at least 23 miles by 11:59 p.m. on February 3, 2023, was entered into a drawing for a Parks and Recreation prize package. The first 100 people to complete the challenge received a Winter Wellness 23 for 23 car magnet. A medal was also awarded to the person with most cumulative miles logged during the 23 for 23 time frame.

Make a Difference Day
Recreation Programming Award of Merit- Single Program
The City of Hattiesburg’s annual celebration of Make a Difference Day encourages neighborhood associations, civic groups, student organizations and more to take on the challenge of hosting or participating in service projects all throughout the Hub City. Scheduled for Saturday, October 22 from 8 a.m. until Noon, project hosts and teams will tackle litter pick-up and beautification efforts in all parts of the city. The event resulted in more than 150 volunteers and 17 cleanup sites across the city. 

Dixie Youth World Series
Award of Excellence in Special Events Sports Programming
Hattiesburg hosted the 2023 Dixie Youth Baseball World Series across July 27 – August 2. After six months of strategic planning between the DYB Committee and Hattiesburg Parks and Recreation crews, the DYB 8U World Series at the Larry Doleac Sports Complex located at Tatum Park brought in 22 teams from 12 states across the Southeast.