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 25, 2013 at 04:57 PM
Congratulations Rick ! I have enjoyed dealing with you on city business regarding trees, easements and boundries. You will be sorely missed by thousands of M.V. residents and impossible to replace. As for your trip to Utah, I'm sure you will love the National Parks there. I went there a few years ago in the month of April, that is a good time to go to Utah, not too hot. But, be aware of the sandstorms ! I suggest that you rent a vehicle for that trip, those sandstorms can blast the paint right off your vehicle, and pit the windshield too. Thank you Rick for all your years of excellent service to the City of Mill Valley, and bueno suarte.
mill valley streamkeepers February 25, 2013 at 06:49 PM
Best Wishes for a Happy Retirement! You have been a wonderful friend to MVSK, answering our questions and helping with community involvement, especially with the kids. We will miss you.
len gensburg February 25, 2013 at 11:20 PM
Thanks Rick for everything you've done for Mill Valley, its residents and its flora. You've always been a great source of information and a pleasure to deal with. Enjoy your travels and anything else you decide to do.
Lonnie Fogel February 25, 2013 at 11:52 PM
Rick, Few times in our town's history, have so many owed so much to one person. You are one of them now. We have had so much to be thankful for. Enjoy the next stage of your lfie adventure and don't be a stranger! Lonnie Fogel
Linda Rosso February 26, 2013 at 12:47 AM
Thank you, RIck, for all you have done! From the benches you built, the bearded irises you dug, the medians you planted, the parks you cared for -- you have made Mill Valley a more beautiful place. I enjoyed knowing you through the years from Parks and Recreation Commission in the 90s to the big hurrah of lighting the Depot building. Enjoy your travels and I am sure our paths will cross again!
Rico February 26, 2013 at 03:17 AM
I think that Rick has the most knowledge of M.V. of any of the staff onboard now (well maybe except Christene if she is still onboard). I remember when Rick used to work for Cagwin & Dorward, the company that used to do the parks maintenence for M.V. Rick was assigned to work for M.V., when the city first "privatized" the parks dept. There were two Italian dudes who were city employees and decided to start their own company working for Mill Valley Parks, they used City of M.V vehicles and equipment for a few years and then retired. Then M.V. decided to "de-privatize" the parks dept. and Rick was hired as the Parks Superintendent. A good thing indeed for everyone concerned. If anyone has any corrections to my memory, please let us know. I am always envious of anyone that can retire at age 55. I used to work directly for public agencies, but I took an early retirement to start my own business, and now I expect to have to work until age 67. I hope and have a strong feeling that Rick will take some time off, do some traveling and soul searching, and then come back to work for the City of Mill Valley in some capacity. Perhaps as a consultant and advisor. Rick must come back and share his knowledge, even if only part time ! I remember when I quit my last public job, different departments offered me jobs, and they told me that they were losing my intimate knowledge of the City. They kept saying "when you come back"...
Margritha Fliegauf February 26, 2013 at 09:21 AM
Thank you Rick for all the great work you have done for all of us in Mill Valley. You were the best Public Works Director ever! Thank you for the installation and repairs of many steps all over town, thank you for the great bridge you built with recycled wood at the bilke path and thank you for organizing the lights on the Book Depot and many other great improvements all over town.( I hear that you were able to secure a grant to repair the dock near the bayfront park. Great news!). Thank you so much for making a difference in Mill Valley.Your great spirit, energy and friendliness will be missed by all of us. I wish you all the best for your retirement and hope that you have fun, but if you get bored, come back to Mill Valley as an advisor, consultant or liaison in some form. best wishes and warmest regards. margritha fliegauf
Betsy Bikle February 27, 2013 at 12:00 AM
I so much appreciated Rick's knowledge about native plants and fish, and their intersection with people. One favorite memory is of the neighborhood association calling Rick to haul away the work day pile of debris pulled from the stream - only to be told to put it back ("Woody Debris, Let it Be"). And a fond memory is the work day at Miller Grove with eager volunteers digging holes to plant plants, and eager kids ready to show where they wanted their off trail bike paths to be. Rick really pulled together a variety of viewpoints that day! Will the city remember that the Park Terrace "park" next to the commuter parking lot on Miller is a flood detention basin? Rick, thanks so much!
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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