NC city manager left indelible mark on town he loved |

NC city manager left indelible mark on town he loved

Beryl Robinson’s life work before his retirement at the end of last month: He played an integral role – perhaps the integral role – in creating a community that is one of the most interesting places in America. And not only that, he did this work in his hometown.

Who, we wonder, could ask for anything more?

A Nevada City old-timer recalled a while back that the town was so sleepy in the years after World War II that he played football in the middle of Broad Street with his friends most afternoons, and they seldom were interrupted by traffic.

It’s important for those who see only today’s vibrant Nevada City to keep in mind that image of a town that had taken several large steps toward decline.

That was the town that appointed Robinson as city administrator in 1965.

At the time, construction of the Golden Center Freeway through town – work that claimed some historic buildings and highlighted other recent historic losses – galvanized Nevada City residents to preserve their history.

Their successes reflect the widespread support throughout the community to preserve historic values. But their successes also represent the tireless work of Robinson, the man who was called upon to implement the vision day by day.

When Beryl Robinson walks down Broad Street, he can glow with the knowledge that the lively street scene reflects his work.

Entrancing as the historic district may be, residents often forget that Nevada City also is a municipal corporation – yet another small town struggling to provide the services its residents desire on a budget that’s never big enough.

That much needed new parking lot on Commercial Street, for instance, was built from the dimes and nickels collected from the city’s parking meters for 20 years.

Robinson has proven to be a skillful financial manager, keeping the city afloat even through difficult times.

Robinson’s 37-year tenure as city manager often is cited as a remarkable accomplishment. But the time spent in office isn’t nearly as important as the work that’s accomplished. Beryl Robinson accomplished a lot.

Your neighbors thank you, Beryl, and wish you Godspeed your journey into retirement.

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