BRENTWOOD -- As a native son who has always been involved in parks, sports and recreation in his hometown, Craig Bronzan devoted the past 15 years of his career to creating model programs and facilities while serving as Brentwood's Parks and Recreation director.

Bronzan retired from his leadership role with the city of Brentwood in late December after a career of more than 35 years total in parks and recreation administration. Starting in 1998, the lifelong Brentwood resident helped to guide the city through its growth spurt as one of California's fastest-growing cities at the time.

"I had the greatest job for 15 years," Bronzan said this week of his time working in Brentwood. "It was a natural fit. It has been a joy."

Among his most beloved projects was the Brentwood Family Aquatic Complex, which he said was the grandest park in the city's history at that time. Bronzan said he is also proud of the 38-acre Sunset Park Athletic Complex, where he spent his youth maintaining the former berry fields.

"In recent years, I am most pleased with the Universal Abilities Playground (at Veterans Park)," Bronzan said. "Of all the things we did, we missed the boat for special kids. It was wonderful to work with the parent volunteers on that project."

Brentwood Recreation Manager Poldina Scherff said that Bronzan's history as a local boy gives him a valuable perspective on the community's history and people. She added that he was also very fair, respectful and passionate in his daily work.

"He trusted his staff to work toward the benefit of the residents to make Brentwood a place for family and fun creating a genuine sense of community," Scherff said.

"He lived and breathed our department's motto of adding joy to people's lives."

Brentwood Parks and Recreation Commissioner Eileen Hofstadt said that Bronzan was one of the most outstanding parks and recreation directors in California.

Bronzan formerly spent 20 years working for the city of Turlock and she said he helped that community through difficult financial times.

"He has seen the department through phenomenal growth and change over the last 15 years," Hofstadt said.

"He has been a special gem for Brentwood to have during its infancy as a parks and recreation program."

Fellow commissioner Sandy Myers said that Bronzan was an asset in holding developers to higher standards, which led to many quality parks.

"He stood behind us. He was open to trying new things.

"We have water and shade in the last 10 years in our parks and he spearheaded that," she said. "They (developers) do what we want or they don't build here."

Additionally, Brentwood's Facilities Maintenance Director Roger Stromgren recently retired from the parks and recreation department. Park/Maintenance Supervisor Aaron Wanden is currently filling in for Stromgren.

As for Bronzan, he plans to spend more time utilizing the parks and trails that he was so instrumental in creating by frequenting them with his dog.

He might also do some consulting work in the future.

"We were so busy for so long that I didn't spend time looking back," Bronzan said of his work for the city.

"I have worked for a long time and I'm looking forward to new adventures."

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