Councilwoman reflects on service

Thursday, Nov. 17, 2005




Looking back on her tenure as Riverdale Park’s Ward 1 councilwoman, Tracy Toscano admits she would have desired more time to help improve the town. But, she said, she has no regrets.

‘‘There are always more things you want to do but I’m proud of what we were able to [accomplish],” Toscano said.

Toscano, who has lived in Riverdale Park for 18 years, stepped down from her council seat Nov. 7 as she and her family prepared to move to University Park.

Toscano said she hadn’t planned to leave the town. She and her husband had just planned to renovate their home, she said.

‘‘We really liked where we were but after the third architect said for the work we wanted to do we needed to move, we decided to look at other homes,” she said.

Before completing former Councilwoman Chris Davis’ term in January, Toscano was well known to residents as the head of the town’s recreation committee. Davis also had to vacate the seat early because he moved out of the town.

‘‘I loved that position,” Toscano said. ‘‘I had my kids involved and really enjoyed it.”

Toscano was responsible for two major town events — Riverdale Park Day and the Spring Festival, which featured an Easter egg hunt.

In addition to free photos with the Easter bunny and Santa Claus, Toscano made it a point to provide books and other educational items for the events.

‘‘I really had a free reign. The mayors I worked with seemed to appreciate the kind of work I was doing and I really enjoyed giving that to the community,” Toscano said.

Toscano ran against Guy Tiberio in the 2003 mayoral election largely to provide an opponent. ‘‘We needed democracy so I decided to run,” she said.

‘‘I came painfully close to winning and it scared me. Then Chris stepped down, so partly for fun and because I had people working on me for two years, I put my name in the hat.”

Toscano was successful in this effort and joined the council in March 2005 to complete Davis’ term, which ended in May.

‘‘I figured I could try the job and if I hated it I could get out. But I ended up loving the job and found it [to be great fun] and exciting,” she said.

‘‘I knew the ward, and the people and thoroughly enjoyed the position. It was a nice thing to grow into a new level of responsibility and commitment to the town.”

Edmonston Mayor Adam Ortiz, who met Toscano through mutual friends, described her as a wonderful people’s person.

‘‘She is one of those rare individuals who talks the talk, walks the walk and uplifts her community,” Ortiz said. ‘‘She never hesitates to roll up her sleeves and she always puts her community first.”

Toscano made an impression on residents during those three months and the subsequent campaigning during the May elections, and overwhelmingly defeated her challenger, Jack Jones by 244 to 54.

‘‘I really appreciate the people who supported me over the years,” Toscano said.

The community involvement bug hasn’t left Toscano.

She said she is already aware she has to reside in University Park for two years before seeking a council seat. Coincidentally, the next University Park election will be in 2007.

In the interim, Toscano said she plans to be involved in some way with education and her new home’s economic development plans.

‘‘I like being able to volunteer so I don’t have to specifically have to be in an office,” Toscano said.

E-mail Jeffrey K. Lyles at jlyles@gazette.net.