City developer retires, replacement named
Published: Monday, February 13, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 01:02
After 37 years of service, the longtime director of Newark's planning and development department Roy Lapata publicly announced his retirement on Wednesday.
Lapata began working for the city in 1975, overseeing efforts to improve Elkton Road and helping preserve The Korner Diner and The Deer Park Tavern.
"It's been exciting to work for the city of Newark over these almost four decades," Lapata said. "I think there's been a lot accomplished to make this a wonderful place to live."
Approaching his 63rd birthday, Lapata decided it was time to step down.
"At some point at life when you spend that much time in one place it makes sense to put that aside," he said.
He noted the city's strengthened relationship with the university as a highlight of his career.
Newark Mayor Vance A. Funk III said in a statement that Lapata has been an important asset to the city.
"Roy will be greatly missed," Funk said. "His knowledge of the city will be hard to match, as he has been a city resource for all things Newark, past and present."
Although he is retiring, Lapata is pleased with Newark's progress as he leaves. He cited a strong economy and a high population, and plans to remain in Newark.
"It's a great university town," he said. "There's a lot of fun things to do and [it's] a great place to live."
Lapata will be honored by the city at a dinner March 2 at Clayton Hall at 7 p.m.
Maureen Feeney Roser, who has served as assistant director of planning and development since 1985, will take over for Lapata beginning Feb. 27. She also works with the Downtown Newark Partnership, a group dedicated to promoting the city and assisting in Main Street development.
"I really think that his contributions [were to] downtown's success and the way the city has grown and developed," Feeney Roser said.
Newark received the one of the 2011 Great American Main Street Awards, a yearly prize honoring Main Street communities awarded by the National Trust For Historic Preservation. Lapata attributed the award to Feeney Roser's work.
"It's a fantastic national honor," he said. "It's fitting she moves from that to taking on the full operation of the department."