Ironically, he claims to have no plans.
Steve Zilkie, Manhattan’s senior planner, held his retirement party at City Hall on Friday.
Zilkie has been a planner with the city since 1984.
Assistant director for planning Eric Cattell said Zilkie has had a hand in developing more than 80 projects around the city, and attended about 580 planning board meetings over the last 29 years.
Cattell said Zilkie was responsible for the planning of Dillon’s, parts of the North and South End Redevelopment projects, all the development along Scenic Drive, Grand Mere and every house built in the Northeast side of town since the ‘90s – just to name a few.
CATTELL SAID Zilkie is well known with the public because he has worked hand-in-hand with developers, builders and homeowners when they want to improve a piece of property in Manhattan.
A variety of people packed the city commission room where the party was held, from city staff members to the public at large.
Friends and co-workers spoke about Zilkie’s professionalism and sense of humor.
City of Ogden zoning administrator Richard Faulkner talked about one incident he remembered when he worked with Zilkie.
Faulkner said Zilkie was working with a developer without much success. After the developer left, he said Zilkie just turned away and muttered, “…like trying to fit an elephant in a bird cage.”
Jason Hilgers also spoke about what it was to work with Zilkie.
“As a friend and colleague, he is one of the most respected people in the city,” he said.
Then Hilgers presented Zilkie with a large street sign named “Zilkie Way.”
ZILKIE TOLD the story behind the sign and audience members laughed and nodded in remembrance of the running joke.
He said he was working with a developer on a housing development. He explained the city has specific guidelines on how streets must be named within a specific development. He said that the developer offered several suggestions, but Zilkie refused them all.
Finally, exasperated with being rejected, the developer said, “I’ll just name it ‘Zilkie’s Way.”
On a more serious note, Zilkie said that unlike many others who retired before him, he has no plans.
He said a friend told him that retirement is just a “door that opens to more opportunity.”
He said he liked thinking of it like that and looks forward to the opportunities that lay ahead.