Roy Lopata Worked for the City of Newark for 37 years
Quite a Career: Roy Lopata spent 37 years helping shape Newark into the city it is today.
Maureen Feeney Roser and Roy Lopata
Photograph by Jared Castaldi
In 1970, Roy Lopata moved to Newark to pursue a graduate degree in American history and a teaching career. He got the degree, but the career path took an unexpected turn. In 1975, the young father became the city manager’s administrative aid to “have a job.” What he thought was temporary would become a 37-year career with the city. “Who knew?” says Lopata, who this year retired as the city’s planning and development director.
The Bronx native isn’t one to brag about his accomplishments. Yet they’ve been remarkable. “Roy is an institution,” says Mayor Vance A. Funk III. “He knows so much about the planning process, and he facilitated the development of a lot of projects in Newark.”
Maureen Feeney Roser, who moved into Lopata’s position, agrees.”There is no one like Roy,” she says. “Anyone who has ever worked with him knows that his dedication, intelligence, humor and love of the city of Newark are unmatched. Newark is a better place because of Roy, and I am a better person for having worked with him.”
Two years after starting with the city, Lopata become the city planning director. In 1998, he became responsible for downtown parking. His responsibilities increased again when the building department merged with the planning department.
Along with designing the city’s comprehensive plans and economic-development incentive programs, he drafted the city’s historic preservation program. The latter was appropriate given his background. “Naturally, I was concerned with what I could do to preserve the buildings on Main Street,” he says. “It’s a tough historic preservation ordinance, and it’s making Main Street what it is today.”
He’s particularly proud of his work to ensure that roadways into the city have green space. “It was a goal we had early on, and it’s been successful,” he says. Personal career highlights also include lobbying to add veterans’ names from the Korea and Viet Nam conflicts to the memorial on Academy Street.
Lopata plans to do some consulting and teaching. He has confidence in Feeney Roser, who had been assistant director of planning and development since 1985. “She’s extremely hard working, extremely dedicated and she loves Newark,” Lopata says.
During his career, Lopata attended more than 300 planning commission meetings and more than 850 council meetings. No wonder the city chose to recognize him with Resolution No. 12-B. “Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Council of the City of Newark, Delaware, hereby extends its gratitude to Roy H. Lopata, for his exemplary and dedicated services to the City and its citizens…and extends its best wishes for many long, healthy, and rewarding years to come.”