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.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@mi-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.mi-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

[flipp]

More in Life

File photo.
MISD announces new virtual kindergarten read-aloud series

Sessions will be held over Zoom on a weekly basis starting July 14.

A library staffer setting up a “Curbside to Go” sign. Photo courtesy KCLS
KCLS’ Mercer Island branch offers ‘Curbside to Go’ services

Local branch among 17 in the area to reinstate returns, introduce new pick-up option.

Island Books patrons peruse the store in 2018. Photo courtesy Nancy Shawn
Island Books continues online-event offerings this month

A look at what the Mercer Island bookstore has planned for July.

Washington State Fair cancelled

COVID-19 outbreak claims another event

Rev. Elizabeth Riley, the rector at Mercer Island’s Emmanuel Church, preaching from her church’s sanctuary Sunday, June 28. Her congregation watches over Zoom. Photo courtesy Elizabeth Riley
How are faith organizations on Mercer Island adapting to evolving COVID-19 guidelines?

While guidelines have been relaxed recently, many church leaders have reservations about prematurely opening their doors.

Arden Clise. Photo courtesy Mercer Island Rotary Club
Rotary Club to host virtual-meeting etiquette program over Zoom June 23

The main speaker during the virtual event is Arden Clise, a business etiquette expert.

A still from “Crescendo,” one of the movies screening at the festival. Photo by Oliver Oppitz, courtesy of the SJCC
Seattle Jewish Film Festival goes virtual for its silver anniversary

The event was to take place earlier this year but was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns.

Mercer Island PTA logo. Photo courtesy MI PTA Council
Mercer Island PTA Council presents 2019-20 awards

Recipients were recognized during a June 10 Zoom event.

Students from MIHS’s International Entrepreneurship class. Photo courtesy Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce
Photo courtesy Olivia Tomaselli
                                Mercer Island High School sophomore Olivia Tomaselli with her dog, Cookie, and available merchandise. Fifty percent of profits accrued from Tie Dye for Black Lives Matter are directly donated to the BLM Global Network, with the rest going toward supplies.
Tie-dying for a good cause: Mercer Island teen’s new project supports Black Lives Matter

Olivia Tomaselli, with the help of her mother, launched Tie Dye for Black Lives Matter on May 31.

TLG Motion Pictures CEO Erik Bernard and TLG founder Courtney LeMarco on a set. Photo courtesy TLG Motion Pictures.
Local production company seeking film, TV pitches from young minority creatives

The Big Pitch competition, put on by TLG Motion Pictures (“Hoarders”), started about six months ago.