Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Economic Point Man Smith Dies

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Economic Point Man Smith Dies

Article excerpt

Jesse B. Smith, a point man for Jacksonville's economic

development initiatives under four mayors and a prominent

advocate for cancer research, died yesterday after a long

struggle with lung cancer. He was 58.

Mr. Smith worked as deputy director of the city Planning and

Development Department until November.

Though he was rarely in the public eye, business leaders and

city officials said Mr. Smith was a key organizer of many of the

city's efforts to attract new businesses. His projects ranged

from massive office complexes at Deerwood and Southpoint to

manufacturing centers in North Jacksonville.

"He was a tremendous steward of projects. There are people

getting a paycheck and building houses that, but for Jesse,

would not be doing that," Mayor John Delaney said.

The 28-year city employee worked for the planning department

after graduating from Jacksonville University in 1968.

In 1980, Mayor Jake Godbold appointed him to a two-person

development office within the Mayor's Office. He was reappointed

by every mayor that followed. In 1991, his office was

reorganized to again be part of the planning department.

"Good guys can succeed. He was one of those good guys," Godbold

said. "He was a good man and a good friend."

Godbold said 175 new businesses moved into Jacksonville during

his tenure, and "Jesse was involved in every damned one of

them. …

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