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Parks Guru Rick Misuraca Races to Retirement

Longtime supervisor for all things parks plans to travel after his last day this week but says he’ll always have deep ties to Mill Valley.

For people nearing retirement, the final weeks and days leading up to that final workday can be filled with dotting i’s, crossing t’s and laying the foundation for a smooth transition to a predecessor.

For Rick Misuraca, whose nearly 30-year career with the city of Mill Valley ends this week, those i’s and t’s are the prominent, tangible and often ubiquitous physical attributes of Mill Valley, many of which will likely live on for decades to come.

“Our community has been enriched by his spirit and work,” Mayor Andy Berman wrote in his recent Patch blog. “I’m still trying to come to grips with his decision.”

From the infrastructure of the city’s parks and an array of to trail monuments and just about anything made of salvaged redwood, Misuraca's fingerprints are the fabric of the city’s public spaces.

That won’t change after his last day of work Thursday, but how Misuraca, 55, spends his days certainly will.

He’s planning a road trip with a buddy to Zion, Bryce Canyon and Canyonlands national parks in southern Utah in March and then a jaunt to Belize in April.

“I’m really looking forward to those trips,” he says.

Over that time and the months afterwards, Misuraca says he’ll have a chance to reflect on a career in a Mill Valley that spans nearly three decades.

Misuraca’s mom went to Tam High and her family ran the Meier’s Bakery in the current Margaret O’Leary space on Miller Ave. downtown, living above the bakery. Misuraca, who lives in Forest Knolls with his wife Sandy, grew up in Strawberry, attended Strawberry Point Elementary and was a member of the last graduating of Edna Maguire Middle School, before it morphed into an elementary school. After attending Tam High and getting a degree in ornamental horticulture at Cal Poly, Misuraca got a job at landscape architecture firm Cagwin & Dorward.

In October 1982, he began working on Cagwin & Dorwood projects for the city of Mill Valley, and the city brought him on as an employee in November 1983.

“I’ve had a lot of fun,” Misuraca says. “I’ve done a lot of fun projects in this town, and we’ve been through some incredible storms and floods.”

“I’ve been so involved and invested with this town and it’s such a big part of my life,” Misuraca says. “I’ll always be involved in something in this town.”

Have any great memories or stories to share about Rick Misuraca? What's your favorite creation of his throughout town? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.

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Rico February 27, 2013 at 07:39 PM
Margritha, Rick was not the Public Works Director or the Parks and Rec Director, he was the Parks Dept. Superintendent. Rick was the person to go to for anything to do with trees, plants, drainage, the natural environment and geology. He was not really into the sewers, streets (except for trees), building codes and zoning codes. One of the monumental things that Rick did was to have the Old Mill rebuilt. He had Dave D. bring his sawmill over the hill from Bolinas to mill lumber down at the corp. yard for the rebuilding the Old Mill. These were trees that were taken down off of City property for various reasons, local wood-recycling.
Rico February 27, 2013 at 08:59 PM
One notable thing that Rick has done that we all can be thankful for is his mechanical approach to vegetation management in City parks and right of ways. Many other cities use chemicals to control unwanted vegetation, powerful pre-emergents and herdicides are detrimental to the environment and all other living beings. Let's hope new management keeps the same policies. I might have made a mistake on Rick's official job name, I believe it was Parks Dept. Supervisor.
Jim Oliveira March 01, 2013 at 12:34 AM
Congratulations Rick! Have a great retirement. from the Oliveira Family.
Julie Hanft March 04, 2013 at 06:26 PM
Thanks Rick! I look forward to many more successful projects with you and the Greenwood School and GreenPlay Summer Camp. You've been a great inspiration to me and the kids and left the beautiful results of your green thumb on our beloved community. All the best!
Tracy H. March 06, 2013 at 08:27 PM
Thank you, Rick for the personal attention you've given to particular trees, especially the big Bay Laurel that sits in the Boyle Park creek and hangs over my backyard. I've enjoyed sharing our mutual care for that magnificent tree over the years. I will miss knowing you are shepherding the flora and fauna of our town and I wish you well in your future endeavors. ~Tracy Haughton

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