City of Montrose mourns the loss of former City Manager Jim Austin

(City of Montrose)
Published: Feb. 12, 2021 at 10:20 AM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - Former City Manager of Montrose Jim Austin passed away at the age of 84 on Feb. 2, leaving behind a rich legacy in the city.

Austin was the city manager for nine years from 1971-1980. The city says that Austin oversaw many transformative changes in Montrose, many of which continue to this day.

“Jim was a visionary. He saw possibilities for Montrose that pushed the limits of conventional thinking,” said current Montrose Mayor Barbara Bynum. “His doggedness and hard work resulted in many successful projects that have helped Montrose not only survive but thrive. His legacy will benefit our community for generations.”

During his time as city manager, Austin helped bring Russell Stover Candies Inc. to the city, which created thousands of jobs over the course of the following decades.

Austin also helped negotiate the Dallas Creek Project in 1977, which led to the building of the Ridgway Dam and Reservoir in an effort to secure water for the Uncompaghre Valley. This transformed not only the city of Montrose but benefitted farmers around the valley.

Austin is remembered as a “hands-on city manager” that always made time to check in with each city department and meet with each city employee. “Jim always wanted to help Montrose be the best it could be,” said longtime friend and former City Councilor and Mayor Judy Ann Files. “His methods were sometimes unconventional but with the best intentions. Even two months ago he was working on a plan to attract untethered workers to Montrose.”

To cement Austin’s legacy at the City of Montrose, the City Council will be celebrating Austin’s life with a proclamation at the Tuesday, February 16, regular City Council meeting.

To view Austin’s obituary, click here.

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