Mercer Island City Councilmember Dan Grausz addresses the crowd at his retirement reception on Dec. 5. Photo courtesy of David D’Souza

Mercer Island City Councilmember Dan Grausz addresses the crowd at his retirement reception on Dec. 5. Photo courtesy of David D’Souza

Mercer Island City Council bids adieu to longest-serving member

Dan Grausz retires after 18 years of service to the city.

After 18 years of service on the Mercer Island City Council, including four as deputy mayor, Dan Grausz is retiring and leaving a legacy of care for the arts, public safety, open space and the city’s character.

“It is definitely time for me to pursue other interests and for others to get involved,” he told the Reporter when he announced he would not run for re-election this year.

The city honored his service on Dec. 5, with a council proclamation noting that he will be remembered for the “impressive political skills he brought to bear in his tireless advocacy for maintaining and advancing Mercer Island’s quality of life.”

“His eloquence, his persuasiveness, his unmatched ability to quickly synthesize and capture thoughts in writing — these skills have set Dan apart,” according to the proclamation. “And in coupling these skills with a willingness to dive deeply into the issues, to question assumptions, to seek creative solutions, to willingly devote long hours to the task, Dan has served Mercer Island well and truly. With his new‐found freedom, Dan is sure to enjoy more time at his vacation home in the San Juan Islands, working to preserve regional land with Forterra, traveling with his wife, and visiting his children and grandson, although we have a strong suspicion we will continue to hear from him on a regular basis.”

Grausz served as a council liaison for every city board and commission but one (the Utility Board), spending four years each on the Design Commission and Open Space Conservancy Trust. He was a member and/or chair of the parks and recreation subcommittee for 10 of his 18 years on the council.

During Grausz’s four-and-a-half terms in office, the council met 494 times, adopted 325 ordinances and 292 resolutions, and reviewed over 2,000 agenda bills, the proclamation stated, noting that “on many issues, he was not just influential, but instrumental, in reaching the final result.”

More recently, Grausz has focused his attention regionally, serving on the Sound Cities Association Public Issues Committee, the King County Regional Policy Committee, the King County Consortium Joint Recommendations Committee and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency Advisory Committee.

Some of the city’s greatest accomplishments during his tenure, which began in 1999, have involved parks and capital facilities, Grausz said, noting the acquisition of Luther Burbank Park and the Engstrom Open Space, and building the new Mercer Island Community and Event Center, Boys and Girls Club PEAK facility and Fire Station 92.

But one facility is left unbuilt: the Mercer Island Center for the Arts. Grausz has been a vocal supporter of the organization, the building and its main tenant, Youth Theatre Northwest.

“As I leave office, I truly feel that YTN’s future on Mercer Island is at risk,” he wrote in an email update to Islanders.

But the other items he hoped to wrap up before the end of his council tenure are done, including the Interstate 90 litigation and negotiations, as well as the residential development standards update.

Grausz will also be remembered for his fiscal responsibility. He assisted in reducing the scope of the sewer lake line project, changing the Southeast 40th Street and 86th Avenue Southeast intersection to save money, eliminating the criminal justice fund to free up resources and saving the cost of transporting fill from the events center by creating Grausz Mountain (aka Kite Hill).

Other notable projects have been installing pedestrian and bike shoulders on the Mercers, updating the Town Center development code, adding turf fields at the high school, South Mercer Playfields and Island Crest Park, maintaining city funding for school counselors and working with citizens to initiate the Farmers Market and find a resolution for the library renovation.

More in Life

Marion (left) and James Burtt of Mercer Island. Courtesy photo
                                Courtesy photo 
                                Marion (left) and James Burtt of Mercer Island.
50 years together

The Burtts celebrate anniversary

Issaquah resident Daniel F. McAllaster receives his French Legion of Honor Medal from the Consul General of France in San Francisco, Emmanuel Lebrun-Damiens at the Museum of Flight on May 10. Courtesy photo of the Consular Agency of France in Seattle
                                The U.S. Veterans were awarded the French Legion of Honor Medal at the Museum of Seattle on May 10. Courtesy photo of the Consular Agency of France in Seattle
Eastside Veterans awarded the French Legion of Honor Medal

Daniel F. McAllaster and Richard A. Nelms awarded for their service in France during WWII

photo: Daian Gan
First Friday art walk May 3

Artists Barbara Bouman Jay and Scott Gibson will be on hand for an exhibit opening.

Photo courtesy of Mercer Island High School
                                Beatrice and Benedick, two of Shakespeare’s wittiest characters, have sworn off love. Hero and Claudio have jumped into love. The Mercer Island High School drama department is performing “Much Ado About Nothing” by William Shakespeare for its spring production. Performances began on April 25 and will also be at 7 p.m., May 2 to 4. Presale tickets are $10 or $15 at the door. Seniors are $5. A pay-what-you-can performance will be held at 2p.m. on May 4. Tickets can be purchased from members of the cast or online at mercerislandschools.org/drama.
Love is in the air

Spring production at Mercer Island High School

Six Mercer Island teams qualify for Global Finals

Destination Imagination teams update

Record number of Mercer Island teams qualify for Destination Imagination state event

Fourteen (14) Mercer Island teams qualified for the state Destination Imagination (DI)… Continue reading

Mercer Island Preschool Association’s Circus will return on April 27

Activities include bounce houses, face painting and of course, a dunk tank.

Students embark

Exchange program underway for Island, sister city.

125 sack lunches were to the Safe Parking Program at the Lake Washington Methodist Church, Sophia Way, The Together Center, and to the residents of Camp Unity and Safe Parking at St. Jude’s. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo.
St. Jude’s Service Day Program helps combat poverty

The annual service day helps organizations who help Eastside communities experiencing poverty and abuse.

Libraries are places of connection and community pride | Library column

Written by Lisa Rosenblum, the director of the King County Library System.

Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo 
                                Tom Kofler helps build the tiny house at Mercer Island United Methodist Church.
A response to homelessness: United Methodist Church builds a Tiny House for the homeless

The church will build the Tiny House during the month of April.

Mercer Islanders make pilgrimage to Israel

Chaplain Greg Asimakoupoulos and two Covenant Shores residents over 90 years old made the trip.