Say Hello to Freeport’s Mayor Russ Barley

Sep 8, 2023 | Communities, Freeport, Walton & Beyond

Mayor Russ Barley of Freeport waving hello

By Kerri Parker

Mayor Barley’s journey from his hometown of Freeport to becoming the Mayor of the city is a story of personal growth, familial influence, and dedication to community development. After leaving Freeport for college, he then served in the Navy. Later he became involved in the floral industry, establishing himself as a businessman in Jacksonville, Florida. Despite his initial plans to stay away from his hometown, his family’s encouragement eventually drew him back.

His parents played a crucial role in inspiring his return to Freeport. Their gentle persuasion and offer to help with start-up costs for his floral business convinced him to make the move back in 1990. This decision marked the beginning of Mayor Barley’s deep involvement in the Freeport community. Over the years, he has raised his family there and even became the Mayor in 2013.

Mayor Barley’s love for Freeport and his dedication to its growth and prosperity are evident in his actions. He has not only led the city through a period of exponential growth but has also established three businesses within the community: Emerald Coast Flowers & Gifts, Kathryn Nikole Clothing, and Lydi Bugs Children’s Boutique. These ventures contribute to the local economy and reflect his commitment to the town’s development.

The city’s success is not accidental; it is a result of careful planning and infrastructure development. Freeport’s rapid growth is supported by initiatives that cater to both commercial and residential needs. The presence of Grade A schools, a diverse natural landscape, proximity to military bases, and the promise of economic opportunities attract a variety of residents, both young and old.

Mayor Barley’s story underscores the importance of familial support, community engagement, and a long-term vision for sustainable growth. His journey from a young man leaving his hometown to a dedicated Mayor and successful entrepreneur showcases the potential for transformation that can occur when citizens invest in their communities and work towards a shared future.

Leanr more about the City of Freeport at

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