Washington County business leader Jim Town passed away Friday, July 16, leaving behind the fruits of decades of service and a legacy of economic innovation.
Town was at the heart of several Washington County economic initiatives, notably assisting in the development and addition of Commercial Intent Overlays to the existing Future Land Use Maps to better prepare for economic development.
Town was also instrumental in the conception of the 79 Corridor Project, the collaborative effort by the City of Bonifay and Holmes and Washington counties to improve sewer and water services along Highway 79 and ignite opportunity to grow a commercial and industrial development corridor in the area. The project was the first of its kind in the state, earning it the 2019 Florida Economic Development Council Rural Economic Development Deal of the Year award.
Town served on local several boards over the years, including the Tri-County Airport Authority and Economic Development Commission. The Washington County Chamber of Commerce presented Town with the Ole Ellis Washington County Lifetime Community Leadership Award in 2018 as a nod to his decades of dedication to the county’s growth.
This week, friends and colleagues are remembering Town as one of the community’s most prolific economic development leaders.
“Jim Town was a remarkable man,” said Ted Everett, Washington County Economic Development Executive Director. “His love for Washington County was never in doubt. He worked tirelessly and for no personal gain to move our county forward.”
“One does not meet many people such as Jim Town in one’s life. He was an exceptional person, a tireless worker, and used his vast knowledge accumulated through his many years of the corporate world to help grow Washington County. He will be missed by many, and Washington County has lost a true friend and champion.”
Attorney Bob Hughes echoed that sentiment, adding that Town’s knowledge regarding the potential impacts of land use amendments was beyond compare.
“[Town] knew the County Comprehensive Plan with zoning as well as anyone,” said Hughes. He … went into the field and could tell you which parcels had improvements which matched the comp plan maps and which didn’t. He was an invaluable asset to county officials in the land planning, zoning, and comprehensive planning areas.”
“Besides all of that, he was truly a fine person and gentleman,” added Hughes. “He was a proud veteran of his U.S. Army service to his country; He is unquestionably someone who the region will miss. I will miss his expertise and his friendship.