By JoAnne Rosenfeld and Lisa Goldberg
There’s not one inch of the Great Neck Park District that has not been affected by retiring Superintendent Peter Renick from the day he began working there in 1972 as a skate rink guard through to the end of his career this month as superintendent.
Renick first fell in love with the Park District as a child while living next door to and spending countless days at Kings Point Park. He later began working at the ice rink, where he had what he referred to as the “best job of his career.” He saw the rink change over the years from an outdoor open rink to the present-day indoor rink with its lounge and locker room additions. Renick was instrumental in the creation of the district’s youth hockey leagues and interacted well with the ISI and MIRMA. He leaves his coworkers and the community with fond memories of the numerous ice shows he organized, supervised and participated in. Rumor has it that one year he even skated as the rear end of a horse.
Renick also has a passion for our parks. He witnessed the evolution from park wading pools to spray pads, from swing-and-slide playgrounds to innovative, interactive playgrounds and from the PlayScape it was originally to the PlayScape it is today. He had a significant role in leading the Park District through major renovation projects, all of which make the Park District one of the premier park districts in the country. In addition, Renick always played a huge part in the hiring of almost all the Park District’s seasonal and full-time staff. Over the years, he was a great mentor and leader to thousands of summer/winter workers as well as to the district’s full-time employees. All would agree that they learned from Renick’s personal integrity and his passion for the Park District.
Everyone who worked with Renick knows he believes in “Safety first.” He always protected the employees, residents and assets of the Park District. He didn’t miss a beat when called to action to lead the Park District and its residents through natural disasters, including two hurricanes (Gloria and Irene), hail storms, the microburst, Superstorm Sandy, a brush fire and the east coast blackout.
The Park District is grateful to Renick’s parents as well as to his wife, Sue (his true love, whom he met at the ice rink), and their two sons, Mike and Danny, for sharing him and allowing him to call the Great Neck Park District his home for so many years. Renick always left his house out east at the crack of dawn to be at his desk by seven in the morning, even on weekends. He sacrificed spending weekend time with his family to ensure Saturday and Sunday events went on without issue for his other family, the residents. His motto was, “The show must go on,” and he made sure it did. No matter how many concerts he worked at, he treated each one as if it were his first so the residents would have the evening of entertainment they expected.
Peter Renick served the Park District with distinction. The Park District is truly proud of his many accomplishments and are so lucky he devoted 43+ years to them. The Park District wishes him a wonderful, long, exciting retirement in good health with Sue, Mike and Danny. The Park District’s loss is their gain.