City of Hattiesburg, Forrest County continue supporting Downtown Association

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 4:21 PM CST
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The City of Hattiesburg approved a $40,000 contribution to the Hattiesburg Downtown Association. The Forrest County Board of Supervisors is also contributing their own $30,000.

Executive Director Andrea Saffle says she is thrilled and thankful local leaders continue to include the organization in their budget.

“We’re really excited that both the city and the county approved our funding for 2022 to carry us forward. So without that funding, we really couldn’t - we wouldn’t have the means to operate our organization. That pays our administrative expenses. The support of the city and the county is just phenomenal. Without the support of the city and the county in helping us in all of those areas, we just couldn’t make it happen,” Saffle says.

Saffle explains that the money from the city and county keep the organization’s office running, so they can focus on bringing events, beautification and business to downtown. She says the office still has bills to worry about, and with the financial help of the city and county, they can pay those easily and get the work done to revitalize downtown.

Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker says downtown is an important part of the city and he looks forward to seeing it continue to grow.

“We’re trying to be a premier city in the gulf south and having a thriving downtown that has economic vitality, promotes quality - it is important to the city, and so we’re proud to continue to invest in that organization and what they do in economic development, what they do in events, what they do and marketing our downtown,” he says.

Saffle says about one-third of the Downtown Hattiesburg Association’s budget comes from the combined city and county money. She’s excited to get to work on the 2022 plans.

“Again, we’ve got the craft beer festival coming up during the summer. We’ve got the star-spangled celebration. That’ll come up again in July. But as far as smaller events and things like that, we’re carrying forward with our first Saturday event series. So that’s going to happen on the first Saturday of each month,” she says.

The Downtown Hattiesburg Association is a private 501 C-6 and a member of the Mississippi Main Street Association. Its goal is to revitalize downtown communities across the state.

One association event happening soon is the traditional Downtown Candlelit Christmas. It’s Dec. 11 and 12.

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