Dozens celebrate naming ceremony for Scrace Marina in Grosse Pointe City

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published August 25, 2020

 Dozens of Grosse Pointe City administrators, residents and officials from other communities applaud the renaming of the Neff Park marina after former longtime Mayor and City Council member Dale Scrace.

Dozens of Grosse Pointe City administrators, residents and officials from other communities applaud the renaming of the Neff Park marina after former longtime Mayor and City Council member Dale Scrace.

Photo by Deb Jacques

GROSSE POINTE CITY — The scorching August heat didn’t keep dozens of friends, family members and officials from being on hand for the unveiling of the Dale N. Scrace Marina at Neff Park in Grosse Pointe City Aug. 22.

“This wonderful turnout is a testament to the love we all have for Dale Scrace,” current Grosse Pointe City Mayor Sheila Tomkowiak said.

Scrace served as the City’s mayor from 2001 to 2017 and on the City Council from 1989 to 2001. An avid sailor who has kept his boat in the Neff Park marina for decades, Scrace first got involved in the City as a member of the marina committee roughly 40 years ago.

“He has touched so many parts of this city,” Tomkowiak said of Scrace. “But nothing seemed as appropriate as naming the marina for Dale.”

Sheri Allor, treasurer of the Grosse Pointe Boat Club, thanked Scrace for his “stellar leadership as mayor, as council member and as (former) commodore of the Grosse Pointe Boat Club.”

City Councilman John Stempfle, currently the longest-serving member of the council, said Scrace holds the record for being the City’s longest-serving council member. When Stempfle was first running for office, Scrace “couldn’t have been more gracious, friendly and willing to inform me about all of the issues (in) Grosse Pointe City.”

With knowledge about the history of the community and its homes and buildings — Scrace is an architect by profession — Stempfle said the former mayor is “a walking encyclopedia of Grosse Pointe City.”

He’s also well respected.

“I’ve never heard a negative thing about Dale,” Stempfle said.

Among other accomplishments, City Manager Pete Dame said Scrace shepherded the community through the redevelopment of Jacobson’s in the Village; the creation of a hospital zoning district that paved the way for a new medical building at Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe, that Dame said is “now one of the largest tax-paying entities” in the City; a new marina, pool and bathhouse at Neff Park, along with an expansion of the park following acquisition of an adjacent lakefront home; new streetscapes in all three major business districts; and bonds for road improvements and new facilities for public safety, public works and the municipal court.

In addition, Scrace served on the board of the Grosse Pointes-Clinton Refuse Disposal Authority for 14 years, 10 of them as chair.

Dame thanked Scrace for hiring him and welcoming Dame and his family into the community — even watching his children when needed.

“More than just my former boss … he is my friend,” Dame said. “He is a model of what living in Grosse Pointe is all about.”

Dame said Scrace’s wife, Mary — a longtime member of the Beautification Commission — is “even more wonderful than he is.”

Scrace concurred with that assessment of Mary Scrace, thanking her and his family for being supportive and understanding of his City commitments — including council meetings on his anniversary. He said his proudest accomplishment was leading the City during the purchase of the Lakeland Street home after its owner died, which enabled the community to expand Neff Park’s lakefront footprint. Scrace said the ability to increase the size of the park was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” for the City.

“It’s been an honor to serve on City Council and as your mayor for 28 years,” Scrace told the crowd. “I’m humbled to have the marina named after me.”

Besides City Council members and administrators, officials from other Grosse Pointes were on hand, as well, for the marina sign unveiling.

“I couldn’t be more pleased that he’s going to get this honor,” Grosse Pointe Park Mayor Robert Denner said. “I’m so happy for him and his family. He served the city exceptionally for many, many years.”

Former Grosse Pointe Farms Mayor James Farquhar has known Scrace for decades. Both were on their respective community’s harbor committees around the same time, he said. Farquhar said he had “great cooperation” from Scrace and “loved working” with Scrace as part of a group made up of the mayors of the five Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods, along with the city managers of those municipalities. Farquhar and Scrace share another unique distinction: Both now have city harbors named for them.

“I think Dale wanted nothing more than to make his city the best,” Farquhar said.

Grosse Pointe Farms Mayor Pro Tem Joe Ricci said he’s known Scrace for about 50 years, remembering their early days as dads coaching Little League with their kids. Ricci said he was always impressed with how Scrace united various community interests, engaging the business community as well as residents, and credits Scrace’s example with his own entrance into politics.

“He was one of the inspirations for me to get involved (on the) council,” Ricci said. “He was one of my important mentors and guiding lights.”