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Motorists will soon know U.S. 19 as the Sheriff David Hobbs Memorial Highway; or at least the portion of the highway within Jefferson County will be so known.
Word is that the Florida Legislature in the last session approved a measure renaming the portion of U.S. 19 in Jefferson County in honor of the late Hobbs, who passed away in 2017 and whose kin still resides in the county.
The reason that the announcement hadn't come sooner is that it was more or less being kept under-wraps until the appropriate signs could be produced and a sign-installation ceremony scheduled. That event, however, may be a ways off yet.
Meanwhile, on Friday, Aug. 2, Ryan Murphy, a legislative aide to Senator Bill Montford, emailed a copy of the legislation approving the renaming to the Monticello News. The designation is embedded in House Bill 385, an 82-page document dealing with transportation that Governor Ron DeSantis approved on July 3. The Hobbs designation is on page 81 of the bill, lines 2008 to 2010. It reads, “The portion of U.S. 19/S.R. 57 between Capps in Jefferson County and the northern Jefferson County line is designated as the 'Sheriff David C. Hobbs Memorial Highway.'”
County Coordinator Parrish Barwick proposed the idea to the Jefferson County Commission last year and took the lead in pursuing the matter, with support from Sheriff Mac McNeill, Property Appraiser Angela Gray and others.
Indication are that the road signs are on order and should be forthcoming soon, at which time a road-dedication ceremony will be held somewhere on U.S. 19. The idea is to have one sign placed near Capps and the other near the Georgia line. There is also talk of having two extra signs made, one to place just north of Monticello, the other just south. The number and locations of the signs, however, is still in flux.
Hobbs, a Jefferson County native and beloved four-term Sheriff, died at age 59 in November 2017 of complications from his cancer medications. Prior to his election as Jefferson County Sheriff, Hobbs served six years in the U.S. Marine Corps, eight as a deputy with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, and 11 with the Florida Highway Patrol.