Hattiesburg adds new hires to Urban Development, administration

Hattiesburg adds new hires to Urban Development, administration
The two initiatives are on the Hattiesburg City Council's agenda for Tuesday night's meeting. (Source: WDAM)

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The city of Hattiesburg announced the hire of a new senior planner in Urban Development and a construction manager in administration Wednesday.

Regina Melson will join Urban Development after 15 years of planning experience, most recently in McComb where she served as the zoning director for the Department of Zoning, Inspections and Permits, according to a Hattiesburg news release.

“We are thrilled to have Regina join the Urban Development team as a senior planner,” said Andrew Ellard, director of Urban Development. “With service to the cities of McComb, Baton Rouge, and Jackson, as well as the Southwest Mississippi Planning & Development District, she brings hands-on experience in various facets of community development and land use administration.”

Sid Gonsoulin, who will join city administration as a construction manager for parks projects, recently retired from the University of Southern Mississippi as the senior associate vice president for student affairs. He will work on jobs that are funded by Hattiesburg’s 1% sales tax that was passed by voters.

“When we campaigned for the 1% tax increase, we championed a process that would be both transparent and mindfully managed,” said Mayor Toby Barker. “Sid’s expertise and results-driven approach to planning for and managing projects of recreational facilities here in Hattiesburg for Southern Miss, and across the country as an adviser, is a key component of making sure we deliver on that promise.”

According to the city, Gonsoulin’s position will not be funded by the proceeds from the sales tax. Instead, the city retooled an existing vacant position to oversee the projects.

Planned projects include:

  • Miracle League inclusion field for children with special needs.
  • Lighting and drainage improvements to 9th Street Ballpark.
  • Drainage improvements to soccer fields at Tatum Park.
  • Expansion of walking path at Duncan Lake.
  • Tennis facility improvements at Tatum Park.
  • Light installation at Friendship Park in East Jerusalem neighborhood.
  • New girls softball field at Hattiesburg High.
  • Chain Park amphitheater.
  • Refinishing of Thames Elementary gym floor for use as indoor recreation facility during non-school hours.
  • Splash pad at Sullivan Park in Palmers Crossing.
  • Tennis court installation at E 8th Street park.
  • Property acquisition for park in Midtown.
  • Playground equipment upgrades at Kamper Park.
  • Splash pad at Timberton Park.
  • Renovations at old Hattiesburg American building into community arts center space.
  • Conversion of dilapidated and abandoned property into public green spaces, pocket parks and community gardens.
  • Additional blueway public access point on Leaf River.
  • Sidewalks, bike trails and multi-use paths.

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