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Dick Brescia, 1935-2021, Norwalk volunteer

Then-Norwalk Parking Authority Chairman Dick Brescia, in 2015. (Archive photo)

NORWALK, Conn. — Former Norwalk Parking Authority Chairman Dick Brescia has passed away at age 86.

“We lost a true gentleman. A nice guy, a person who loved Norwalk, a person who served Norwalk on many different levels,” Mayor Harry Rilling said at Tuesday’s Common Council meeting.

The Bridgeport-born Brescia was husband to Norwalk Public Library Board of Trustees Vice Chair Patsy Brescia, a former Council member, for more than 62 years. They met as University of Connecticut students in the ’50s and chose Norwalk as their home more than five decades ago.

“Since his childhood days, Dick was fascinated with radio whether listening to presidents, sports announcers, variety show hosts or news anchors,” his obituary states. “Not surprisingly, his professional career included time on-air at UConn and at local radio stations. After several years at WDEW in Westfield, Massachusetts, Dick took a sales position at Mutual Broadcasting in NYC. He joined CBS Radio in the mid 60’s as a regional sales manager, advancing through the company until his appointment as Executive VP, CBS Radio Networks. Among his contributions to the company, Dick brought ‘Monday Night Football’ to radio, helped launch the music network ‘RadioRadio,’ and built a partnership with the Master’s Golf Tournament. After retiring from CBS, he syndicated ‘old-time radio shows’ including Mystery Theater, managed Stamford’s radio station WSTC, advised emerging media enterprises such as Sirius Radio, and others in Eastern Europe.”

Rilling appointed Brescia to the Parking Authority in 2014. Later, Brescia told NancyOnNorwalk that Rilling had asked him to do it, informing him that it was a thankless job but that he was needed. He became chairman in 2015.

“Dick was an effective leader and manager, quickly recognized the importance and value of the NPA within the City of Norwalk organizational structure and the value of parking management best practices/principles to the business community and as a driver of economic and community development by leveraging parking dollars. He worked in a truly collaborative approach with the staff team and the Norwalk Parking Authority. He believed in the value of a team,” Rilling, former Director of Transportation, Mobility and Parking Kathryn Hebert and City staff members said in a statement.

“From the beginning his focus was on changing the negative perception of ‘parking’ by transitioning from a negative enforcement experience to a positive customer service oriented/compliance experience,” the statement said.

Asked for the Parking Authority’s accomplishments under Brescia’s leadership, Rilling, Hebert and City staff listed:

Parking Management Program(s):

  • Liberty Square– addressing complaints by the residents and businesses of Liberty Square that there was a parking management issue due to the proximity of the lot to local amenities, the Parking Authority installed a comprehensive parking management program. The program included paving, striping, signage, landscaping, permit and transient parking installation.
  • Wall Street – installed a comprehensive parking management program which included back in angled parking, 15 minute parking spaces, signage, multi space meters, fee structure, surface lot paving, landscaping, striping.

Infrastructure Investments in Parking Assets:

  • Infrastructure Investments – implemented a capital improvement project including updated LED lighting, structural repairs, painting, new elevators, doors, stairwells, landscaping, customer service center, converted a barren, underutilized space under the garage to a functional, tech office and conference room for community use.

Courtesy card program

  • Response to the enforcement complaints from the business community and the Common Council that the NPA was ticketing too much and too often.  This is now a metric reported to the Parking Authority on a monthly basis.

Budget Management and Small Business Support through COVID

  • Managed the operating and capital budgets throughout COVID, including eliminating parking fees in April and May of 2020 in support of small businesses. Supported the installation of outdoor dining and fifteen minute parking spaces for drop-off and pick-up in support of small business.

Strategic plan

  • Completed the first ever Strategic Plan for the Norwalk Parking Authority.

Rate study

  • Finalized a NPA rate study for street, surface and garage parking.

Listening Tour

  • Introduced a listening ‘tour’ through group and individual meetings with the business community including restaurants, retail, office, developers, property managers and residents.

Business Marketing and Promotional Campaign

  • Leveraging parking dollars for economic development and activity, the Parking Authority introduced a marketing and promotional effort that focused on Norwalk businesses.

Art in Parking Places

  • Leveraging parking dollars partnering with the Arts Community and the Arts Commission continued Maritime Garage Gallery exhibits on a quarterly basis. An outdoor artistic lighting program was installed at the Yankee Doodle Garage.

 

“Dick made a big difference not only for the City of Norwalk but also in many peoples’ lives. We are forever grateful to Dick and his family for their commitment to the City of Norwalk,” they said.

Brescia “was an avid golfer and fervent fan of the NY Giants, UConn women’s basketball, and the Yankees,” his obituary states. “He shared his keen eye for outstanding athletes with his children and grandchildren who frequently joined him at Giants games or on the links. He served as president of both Silvermine and Shorehaven Golf Clubs.”

It continued, “In recent years, Dick contributed his talents and love of Norwalk by serving as the Chairman of the Parking Authority and supporting other initiatives to enhance the city’s business environment. He also previously served on the boards of VITAM and NEON in Norwalk and the Boys and Girls Club of Bridgeport. From 1957 to 1962 Dick served in the US Army Reserve.”

His death May 8 came “after a tenacious battle with cancer,” the obituary states.

His 2014 resume said that he syndicated radio programming for CBS News icon Walter Cronkite, film critic Leonard Maltin, satirist Stan Freberg, humorist Tom Bodett and sportscaster Jack Buck. Among his other career highlights, he helped the NFL establish the European Football League, worked on broadcast issues with Major League Baseball, helped the Big East Conference establish its radio network. He also spent 20 years at CBS in senior management positions.

“Dick will be remembered for his deep resonant radio voice, animated story telling, dry wit, love of music and love of family,” his obituary states. “A private family celebration is planned. In lieu of flowers or gifts and to honor his love of music and support of veterans, the family requests that any donations in his honor be given to the Healing our Heroes Music Therapy program for combat veterans at the Music Conservatory of Westchester in White Plains, NY 10606. This program is coordinated by Dick’s youngest daughter Tina Brescia.”

Comments

2 responses to “Dick Brescia, 1935-2021, Norwalk volunteer”

  1. Sherelle Harris

    My condolences to the Brescia family. Dick’s life spoke for itself through his accomplishments and gentlemanly spirit. May he rest in peace.

  2. Michael F Discala

    My condolences

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