New Britain City Journal

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Commentary

Demaio to Take Over as Parks & Rec Director in Newington

William A. DeMaio, Director of Recreation & Community Services, will be retiring from city service in early July after 31 years, and will be taking on the same position for his hometown of Newington.

“To say that this announcement is bittersweet is a total understatement. There are a select few people whose unique skills and records of accomplishment have made them City Hall legends who are remembered long after they leave. Bill is a member of that distinguished group. What he has done as our Director of Parks & Recreation will likely never be surpassed,” said Mayor Stewart. “Bill is a dear friend and one of our most valued, trusted and capable managers. Losing him is certainly a loss for the City, but clearly this is the right move at the right time for him and his family. If there is one thing I understand, it’s the desire to make a difference in your hometown. For 31 years, Bill has made a difference here in New Britain, and now he will get the chance to do the same for his hometown of Newington.”

As Director of Parks & Recreation, DeMaio, 56, has been the driving force behind such successful events as the annual Memorial Day Parade, the Great American Boom (4th of July fireworks), the Rose Garden Festival and many more. He has also played a leading role in many park construction projects including Willow Brook Pool, New Britain Stadium, the Beehive Stadium renovation, and Walnut Hill Park, as well as the installation of field turf at both Veterans Stadium and Chesley Park. In addition to his Parks & Rec responsibilities, he also oversees the Division of Community Services, Stanley Golf Course, Fairview Cemetery and the New Britain Senior Center.

“What makes Bill’s record all the more spectacular is that he does all this despite being legally blind,” said Stewart. “Bill is a hero for so many because he lives life to the fullest and does everything with seemingly boundless energy and humor. If he didn’t have Izaac (his guide dog and best friend) by his side, you probably wouldn’t even know.”

DeMaio echoed the Mayor’s bittersweet tone in commenting on his upcoming retirement.

“This decision did not come easy to me,” said DeMaio. “I love this city and I am very proud of our entire team’s success. I wish to thank Mayor Erin E. Stewart and all the six other Mayors that I worked for over my 31 years. It has been an exciting run. I also thank all the councils and all the commissioners that I have spent so many hours with making big decisions for our residents over the years. I have enjoyed meeting all the people that have crossed my path in one way or another. But most of all I thank our staff. They have been the most dedicated hard working and motivated group of people I have ever worked with. This department is left in good hands. I am looking forward to my new challenges in Newington. It will be exciting going home, where I got my start.”