By Liz Skalka, StamfordAdvocate.com
Updated 6:14 pm, Wednesday, December 21, 2016
STAMFORD — The head of one of the city’s most recognized land use consulting firms and a Stamford native was named 2016 Citizen of the Year.
Rick Redniss, president of Redniss & Mead, learned of the honor Wednesday afternoon during a surprise luncheon at his First Street office.
“I’m usually on the other end of these surprises, so this is a shock,” said Redniss, who balances his job with volunteering for local nonprofits and community organizations.
Redniss has been involved with the Boys & Girls Club, Stamford Museum and Nature Center, Jewish War Veterans Fred Robbins Post 142, Stamford Jewish Community Center, Stamford Land Conservation Trust, Veterans Park Ad-Hoc Committee and Mayor’s Task Force on Open Space.
He is also co-chairman of the board of directors for Fairfield County Hospice House, spending eight years involved in the planning and construction of its Den Road residence, expected to open in the spring.
“He’s been in the hot seat of some very controversial decisions, but one thing that’s absolutely true is he’s put an extraordinary amount of effort into supporting a number of very positive causes,” Mayor David Martin said. “He shows up time and time again to help neighborhoods and groups that make this community stronger.”
Redniss told The Advocate in a 2014 interview that he doesn’t shy away from controversy.
“I made a decision long ago to only fight for what I believe to be good planning initiatives,” he said. “I pass on things that are not well conceived or appropriate.
“Most people in opposition over time come to realize that their fears were exaggerated and the impacts they worried about never materialized. So I am OK showing my face in public. There are people who associate me with change. They do not like change, and will do anything to stop change, even when change is an improvement. It is always an educational process.”
Redniss has been involved in scores of zoning and development projects in Stamford, including the 1983 creation of the city’s first residential parking reduction plan.
He has also been involved for 25 years with the Stamford Boys & Girls Club, where he once served on the board of directors. Redniss played a key role in completing the club’s Stillwater Avenue facility and reopening the Yerwood Center, according to a news release.
“(Rick is) one of the truly great people of Stamford,” said Tim Curtin, this year’s Citizen of the Year selection chairman. “He loves his hometown and is active in more civic and charitable initiatives than I could possibly describe. Chief among them are the Boys & Girls Club and the Fairfield County Hospice House. Rick is a special guy and deserves to be honored by the citizens of his community.”
Since 1945, Post 142 of the Jewish War Veterans has sponsored Stamford’s Citizen of the Year Award, honoring 74 men and women for their community service and dedication to civic causes. Last year’s winners were Superior Court judge Mary Sommer and her husband, attorney Jay Sandak, who have been involved with the Child Guidance Center and Herbert Nell Singer Foundation.
Redniss’ city roots span decades. His grandparents settled in Stamford at the turn of the century and 1930s, while Redniss has lived here for most of his life. He shares a Westover home with his wife, Robin.
In past years, Redniss has helped plan the surprise for other Citizen of the Year recipients. He said he had no idea he was next in line for the award.
“Now I’m playing back in my head all the things people said to me to get me here,” he said.
Press Release by the City of Stamford
and the Jewish War Veterans Fred Robbins Post 142
Media Contact: Gary Stone: 203-323-8000 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Stamford “Native Son” to be Honored as the 2016 City of Stamford Citizen of the Year
STAMFORD, Conn., December 21, 2016 – On behalf of the City of Stamford, the Jewish War Veterans
Fred Robbins Post 142 is pleased to announce the selection of Richard W. Redniss as the 2016 City of Stamford Citizen of the Year (COTY).
Rick was recognized as a “person who, in the opinion of the Selection Committee, has demonstrated a belief in interfaith harmony, possesses the highest standards of responsibility in civic life, has helped in the promotion of projects for the public welfare and who has personally worked with distinction to benefit Stamford on a community-wide basis” – the criteria for selection of one of Stamford’s most prestigious community service/volunteer awards.
“Those in our community who have worked with Rick know of his passion, dedication and commitment to making our City a better place to live.” said Mayor David Martin. “He is one of the people that have helped shape our City, and his caring for those in need is unmatched. I am proud to join the Committee in recognizing Rick with the 2016 Stamford Citizen of the Year Award.”
Rick is President of Redniss & Mead, Inc., a Stamford based, design and consulting firm specializing in land use, engineering, surveying, environmental consulting, urban design and site planning.
Rick’s deep love and appreciation for our community has history. His maternal grandparents settled in Stamford in the early 1900s and his paternal grandparents in the late 1930s. Knowing this helps solve the mystery of why it seems that whenever Rick’s been approached to give of his time, or he’s identified something that would make Stamford better; he’s been there to help make it happen.
There’s a broad roster of organizations that can say “Thank you for your help.” The following are just a few:
• Fairfield County Hospice House, Co-Chair – Board of Directors
• Boys and Girls Club, former Board member
• Stamford Museum and Nature Center
• JWV Community Scholarships, Chair
• Stamford JCC
• Stamford Land Conservation Trust, Trustee
• The Veterans Park Ad-Hoc Committee
• Mayor’s Task Force on Open Space, Co-Chair
Rick Redniss – Citizen of the Year – page 2
Rick is Co-chair of the Board of Directors of the Fairfield County Hospice House and has been deeply involved over the past 8 years. Rick has worked tirelessly with a dedicated group to procure the land and apply for changes in local zoning and state regulations to allow the six-bedroom residence to be built and operated. The residence is expected to be completed in the spring of 2017 and is anticipated to open debt free.
The Boys and Girls Club of Stamford is another organization that’s been special to Rick over the past 25 years or so, and where he formerly served on the Board. Rick was a key player in getting the current building completed that the Boys & Girls Club now calls its home along with re-opening of the Yerwood Center and advocating for its Capital Campaign.
Tim Curtin, this year’s COTY selection chair, referred to Rick as “one of the truly great people of Stamford. He loves his home town and is active in more civic and charitable activities than I could possibly describe. Chief among them are the Boys and Girls Club and the Fairfield County Hospice House. Rick is a special guy and deserves to be honored by the citizens of his community.”
Rick and his wife Robin live in the Westover area of Stamford, and have raised a son, Seth, and a daughter, Lauren. The Redniss’ have two grandchildren.
Two upcoming events will celebrate Rick as the 2016 Citizen of the Year. The first is when his name plaque is added to the past recipients previously honored at The Government Center, and the second is at the 72nd annual Stamford Citizen of the Year dinner which will be held in early May 2017.
About the City of Stamford Citizen of the Year Award
In the early 1940s, Fred Robbins, a veteran who had served in both World War I and II, settled in Stamford, became involved in community affairs and worked with then Mayor Webster Givens to establish a Citizen of the Year (COTY) award. COTY has been awarded since 1945 when Mayor Givens appointed Post 142 of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States be the sponsoring organization. Now named Fred Robbins Post 142, it has sponsored the award on behalf of the City for 71 years, and over this time, has honored 74 men and women who have served the Stamford community so well. For more information, visit www.stamfordcoty.org/coty.
Prior City of Stamford Citizens of the Year:
1945 Father John Kelley 1981 Wayne L. Tyson
1946 C. Russell Waterbury 1982 Christel Truglia
1947 Rabbi David W. Pearlman 1983 Julius M. Wilensky
1948 Rev. Lloyd F. Worley 1984 Joseph F. Fahey
1949 Walter H. Wheeler, Jr. 1985 Sylvia Rosenfield
1950 Benjamin Bogin 1986 Frank D. Rich, Jr.
1951 Sarah F. Smith 1987 S. Beatrice Foreman
1952 Norris E. Pierson 1988 Norman T. Woodbury
1953 Gibbs Lyons 1989 Jane F. Norgren
1954 Jean Ware Hoyt 1990 John T. D. Rich
1955 Harold E. Rider 1990 Elizabeth P. Rich
1956 Pat Marshall 1991 Lynne R. Laitman
1957 Harry Rosenbaum 1992 Charles A Guinta
1958 Joseph E. Morrow 1993 Charles C. Judd
1959 Rev. Donald F. Campbell 1993 Jane M. Judd
1960 J. Walter Kennedy 1994 John A. Ball
1961 Walter Thayer 1995 Michael J. Cacace
1962 Thomas C. Mayers 1996 George B. Harvey
1963 T. Carter Dodd 1998 Adele Gordon
1964 Rev. Russell McGown 1999 Polly O’Brien
1965 Doris Kirshbaum 2000 Len Miller
1966 John F. Cameron 2001 Sam Cingari
1967 Herbert B. Kohn 2002 Rev. Winton M. Hill III
1968 Dr. Peter Goldmark 2003 Marc Lyons, Jr.
1969 Thomas J. Feeney 2004 Rick Robustelli
1970 Rev. Cyrill S. Peters 2005 Sandy Goldstein
1971 Dr. Angelo Mastrangelo 2006 Al Sanseverino
1972 John O. Nicklis 2007 June Rosenthal
1973 Charles A. Ukkerd 2008 Richard E. Taber
1974 Alphonsus J. Donahue, Jr. 2009 Juanita T. James
1975 Louis Lotstein 2010 Bobby Valentine
1976 Lillian Moran 2011 Arthur Selkowitz
1977 Tony P. Pia 2012 Jami Sherwood
1978 Pobie Johnston 2013 Timothy J. Curtin, Jr
1979 Edith Sherman 2014 Gene Rubino .
1980 Fred T. Allen 2015 Jay Sandak
2015 Mary Sommer