The City of Waxahachie honored the man who helped to create the department he headed for 18 years, last Friday.

City officials and staff, residents and Doug Barnes’ family and friends joined him at the Waxahachie Civic Center for a retirement party, where he was credited for stimulating economic growth and development in Waxahachie.

“His legacy of service to our city is historic,” said Joe Gallo, a former Waxahachie councilman and municipal court judge who worked with Barnes. “Doug is a wonderfully positive individual. I’ve never seen him without a smile. He will be very difficult to replace.”

“Doug served as economic development director during one of the most significant population booms in the history of our city,” Gallo added. “Doug handled that task with a keen understanding of what the citizens wanted and what they didn’t want. He understood that maintaining the unique character of Waxahachie was always paramount.”

City Spokesperson Amy Borders noted that Barnes brought a wealth of experience to his role.

“Doug Barnes certainly made incredible strides in his 18 years of serving the City of Waxahachie,” Borders maintained. “He is not only known for his vast experience in the economic development field, but he also is known for his optimism and incredible work ethic, and we are grateful for all he has done for Waxahachie.”

Barnes was already a retired man after ending his career at TXU Energy when he was summoned by the mayor in 2001 to bring his economic development prowess to the city.

“The past 18 years have been exciting, rewarding, interesting, challenging, productive and truly enjoyable,” Barnes said. “Being a part of this city and economic development, we really have two goals: help Waxahachie become a better place in which to live and, secondly, make Waxahachie become a better place within which to make a living.”

The retired director noted that one of the challenges faced by the economic development department is keeping the fabric of the city in tact as the population blossoms.

“All this growth that we’ve experienced through the years, we’ve been able to keep the culture and the history of our community, and I’m hoping we always will,” Barnes boasted. “That gives us a unique community.”

“We’ve been averaging about 180 new people coming into Waxahachie each month,” Barnes added. “They’re coming in because we have that quality of life that we have been able to bring the basic necessities to the citizens instead of having them going to the concrete asphalt jungle of the metroplex just to get that.

While Barnes said he hopes to take a deep breath, relax and do some traveling with his family, he plans to stay in Waxahachie.

“We enjoy living here,” he admitted. “This is a friendly community, and you can walk around the Courthouse Square and people are coming in and going. They’re speaking to one another. They stop and ask, ‘Where are you from? How can we help you?’ It’s just a unique custom in our community … ”

There is no word if the Barnes Blvd. sign presented to the economic development expert by Asst. City Manager Albert Lawrence will become a reality. As for now, it hangs in Barnes’ house for show and tell.

“That was just gracious of them to do that,” Barnes said, laughing.