Immich made changes for the best for Plymouth

THE CITY OF PLYMOUTH today is not the same city Bill Immich came to as director of public works in 1990.

It’s a bigger, better, more progressive, more modern and more welcoming city, thanks in no small part to Immich’s efforts over the past 27 years.

Immich, a licensed civil engineer, brought a level of professionalism and expertise to the position that the city had not seen before, at a time when such knowledge and professionalism were becoming more and more necessary.

He was the first professional engineer to be named to the position in the city’s more than a century history and he soon put that to good use for the city’s benefit.

During that time, the city has grown by nearly 25 percent. That residential growth – and the commercial, business and industrial growth that accompanied it – was accomplished in an orderly and managed fashion in great part thanks to Immich’s professional guidance.

A degree of planning and consistency came to development efforts in the city as a result of having a full-time professional engineer on board.

Over the years, Immich wore a number of different hats for the city, including a number of somewhat esoteric ones such as weed officer and official city forester.

But more importantly, he was in charge of the construction, maintenance and upkeep of city streets and city parks.

As the man in charge of making sure city streets were plowed in the winter, potholes were filled in the spring and summer, and making sure that city streets were upgraded or repaired when needed – usually just in time to upset summer driving plans and snarl traffic – Immich was often the very public face of city government for many citizens.

It’s an old saying that success has a million fathers while failure is an orphan and there were times when Immich must have felt he was standing alone when something went wrong, but far more often he quietly succeeded at making sure things got done and got built right.

Under his leadership, the city’s park system grew with the addition of an outdoor aquatic center, a skateboard park, a city golf course and disc golf course, several new parks throughout the city and much, much more.

New industries brought new jobs to Plymouth, new businesses provided for those filling those jobs, and attractive, orderly new housing was built for those people, all under the professional guidance and leadership of Bill Immich.

Now he will be heading into a well-deserved retirement. He and his wife, he told the City Council last week, will continue to call Plymouth – a city his fingerprints and handiwork are all over – home even in their retirement. We wish them all happiness and success.

The city has made a wise choice to replace him in Catherine Austin. In addition to substantial experience in public works and civil engineering in the city of Kenosha that she brings to her new position, she is also a Plymouth native. That means she has seen first-hand much of the positive growth in the city during Immich’s tenure and has a special appreciation for all the things that make this city great, things she is sure to work hard to preserve and enhance.

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