JAY — Jay is focused on building its small town into a larger economic community. To that end, the town has announced a Jan. 28 Economic Development Open House at the Linda Carden Community Center, 5259 Booker Lane. 

Eric Seib, operations manager for the city, said the event will take place all day, broken up into three sessions: a morning session from 7 to 9 a.m., a lunch session from  11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and an afternoon session from 4 to 7 p.m.  There will be information on the State of Florida Department of Economic Opportunity grant and how to create and complete a project within the grant regulations at the event. 

"This event will help kick start the process and allow us to discuss ideas with business owners," Seib said. "Stop by and meet local business leaders and elected officials. The town of Jay needs your help in creating ideas to plan for the economic future of our great town."

Newly elected town councilwoman Nina Hendricks said she was excited about the opportunity to collaborate with the state of Florida Department Economic Office in order to research and develop a project that would best utilize the town's resources. She said she would be attending the event and is looking forward to talking with guests.

"Our open house on January 28th is truly that," Hendricks said, "an open discussion with our town about ideas and concerns that moves us forward with a plan for economic development that is sustainable and with community support for a significant impact."

The town of Jay — population 590 — is a farming community producing mainly cotton, soybeans, peanuts and hay. After agriculture, the town's economy includes agrotourism and oil as well as healthcare and small business.

Those seeking a rural getaway may attend the Jay Peanut Festival, held each autumn. The town also hosts several local rodeo events, like the Jay Pro Rodeo event.

The Jay oil field was discovered in 1970. According to records from www.onepetro.org, the field has produced over 330 million barrels since its discovery. The oilfield has approximately 67 oilwells, 11 within town limits. According to http://www.townofjayfl.com, the city website, royalties from the oil funded a new city hall, fire department and recreation complex. A small oil refinery is located in the town.

Jay holds a 55-bed general hospital as well as one grocery store and traffic light. According to Seib, the town has a total of 74 licensed businesses including restaurants, stores and financial institutions.