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Oxnard Development Director Retires

Public service: For 18 years, Richard Maggio helped guide the city through good times and bad.


Richard Maggio, director of Oxnard community development, has retired after 18 years of boom, bust and boom again.

Maggio retired Wednesday--three days shy of his 60th birthday--ending a planning and development career that spanned four decades and three states.

Curtis Cannon, city redevelopment head, will serve as the interim director while city officials complete a nationwide search for his successor, Maggio said.

"Now I can do a lot of things I want to do, like go fishing and see the country, and I've never seen Italy," Maggio said Thursday morning after a retirement party attended by about 200 people at the Marriott Residence Inn.

After moving to Oxnard in 1982, the Oxnard Shores resident oversaw the 1980s development boom during which blue-collar Oxnard built several upscale housing developments in the northwest part of town, substantially expanded its industrial parks in the northeast and erected an auto mall and business corridor along the Ventura Freeway.

Then, during the recession of the early 1990s, Maggio struggled to bring new businesses to those industrial parks.

"We didn't build any industrial buildings for almost five years. But it's come out quite well now," he said. "We're bringing in a lot of quality companies, and job creation is very important, because we've always had more workers than jobs."

As the economy improved in recent years, Maggio has overseen demolition of the old Esplanade shopping mall that is being replaced with a new big box shopping center Maggio considers an improvement.

Other major pending projects include a 416-home River Ridge West golf course community, a $750-million Riverpark housing and residential project at the freeway and the Santa Clara River, and a conceptual plan for development at Ormond Beach.

"I've worked on a lot of projects, but doing the planning for our industrial park would be my main [accomplishment]," Maggio said. "And the new golf course community is going to be a great asset to the city."

Maggio came to Oxnard after working as a planner or community development officer in New York, Arizona and the Orange County city of Brea.

He plans to remain in Oxnard Shores with his wife of 33 years, Betty.

"I'll probably miss working on the projects," he said, "helping to improve the city."

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