Glendale — After 36 years as Glendale's city administrator, Richard Maslowski informed the common council on June 27 that he will retire effective Aug. 31.
Maslowski has been in local government for 44 years. He started his career as the village administrator in Butler, then served as the city administrator in West Bend before coming to Glendale in 1980. In Glendale, he has served under seven mayors and 32 aldermen.
Glendale looked much different before Maslowski, who had a hand in redeveloping nearly every inch of the city. Before breaking ground on the Richard E. Maslowski Community Park last week, Glendale Mayor Bryan Kennedy rightfully noted that Maslowski's fingerprints can be found on nearly every inch of the city.
Maslowski oversaw the creation of the Bayshore Town Center, Estabrook Corporate Park, Glendale Technology Center and the North Shore Library. During his tenure, every street in the city has been rebuilt at least once — including the expansion of Green Bay Avenue, Silver Spring Drive and Port Washington Road.
He created the city's first tax incremental financing district in 1981, when Green Tree Elementary School was transformed into a hotel now known as Radisson Inn. Three years later, he created the city's second TIF district, as well as the community development authority, to facilitate the development of the Coventry Apartments and a four-story office building anchored by the newly created North Shore Library — the first joint library in Wisconsin.
In the 1990s, Maslowski acquired property to redevelop Silver Spring Drive from 27th Street to Green Bay Avenue, blending commercial, office and residential projects into the same neighborhood at a time when that concept was unheard of.
Under Maslowski, the city acquired land south of Hampton Avenue that was once used by Schlitz Brewing Company and other manufacturers and transformed it into the Estabrook Corporate Park, Eastlake Towers and Glendale Technology Center. The business parks are home to Weyco Group, Columbia St. Mary's and Wheaton Franciscan, to name a few.
Maslowski's biggest project, though, came with the 10 years of planning and negotiations that led to the creation of Bayshore Town Center in 2006.
He recalls the public was sometimes critical of the outdoor mall that combined retail and apartments, but ultimately the idea paid off. Maslowski recalled walking through the town square area of the mall several weeks after the mall opening and overhearing shoppers comment on the layout and architecture.
'We knew we would never be able to compete head-on with Mayfair,' Maslowski said. 'We knew we needed something different. We wanted to bring the community back to the original downtown concept with large storefront windows, cafes that opened out onto the street and a town square with outdoor concerts.'
After hearing the news of Maslowski's retirement, Bayshore developer Yaromir Steiner reflected on Maslowski's integrity and high standards for the mall.
'He's a man I really admire,' Steiner said. 'He was probably one of the most competent leaders I ever worked with. When he identified something the community wanted, he devoted all of his resources to making it happen.'
'He ate, slept and breathed Glendale ,' added Jerome Tepper, who served as mayor for seven years. 'Any success I had as mayor was largely due to fact that Richard Maslowski was the city administrator.'
Maslowski, 66, wrote a letter to all of his colleagues reflecting on the lessons he learned through all of his years in Glendale. He said the most valuable lesson he learned is the importance of collaboration. He also reflected on how much he enjoyed doing the city's work.
'As I pass the torch to a new generation, my only wish is that those who are just beginning their careers in local government, as well as those in my profession, are as lucky as I have been over these past 44 years,' he said.
In his retirement, Maslowski plans to move away from Glendale and to the Chicago area, where he can spend time with his daughter instead of fretting over municipal issues. His experiences throughout Glendale are tinged with personal reminders about the efforts he took to build the streets and buildings around him.
'Every person I see triggers a memory. Everything I see I know exactly the story behind it,' he said. 'As I drive down these streets and remember how things once were, that's where I take the greatest pride. At least in my mind, perhaps I made a difference.'