From left, former Grosse Pointe Park City  Councilman Daniel Clark shares a laugh with Mayor Robert Denner over Clark’s old council photo, taken early in his council career decades ago. Clark was honored for his service  during a Jan. 13 City Council meeting.

From left, former Grosse Pointe Park City Councilman Daniel Clark shares a laugh with Mayor Robert Denner over Clark’s old council photo, taken early in his council career decades ago. Clark was honored for his service during a Jan. 13 City Council meeting.

Photo by K. Michelle Moran


Long-serving Grosse Pointe Park council member honored for knowledge, leadership

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published February 4, 2020

GROSSE POINTE PARK — He served his city for more than three decades, so Grosse Pointe Park officials wanted to thank former City Councilman Daniel Clark for his leadership and contributions over the years.

Mayor Robert Denner, who presented Clark with a resolution in his honor during a Jan. 13 City Council meeting, said both of them have been friends for 30 years and saw their kids grow up together.

“You were indispensable to me as mayor pro tem … and you were always there for the community,” Denner told Clark, noting that Clark participated “in every event” the city organized.

As Denner handed Clark his council nameplate and official council photo, the men shared a laugh as Clark joked that his photo was from his first communion; the headshot was from early in his council tenure.

Clark served on the council from 1987 to 1991 and from 1993 to 2019 — a total of 32 years. During his tenure, he was mayor pro tem, chair of the Ordinance Review Committee and Personnel Committee, council liaison to the Planning Commission, and council representative to Detroit’s East Side Community Network, among many other responsibilities. His council tenure ended after he wasn’t reelected in November.

City Councilman James Robson, a fellow longtime official, said Clark was one of the leaders who helped revitalize the city at a time of decline circa the 1980s.

“The crime rate in Grosse Pointe Park in 1987 was pretty high,” Robson said. “As you leave in 2019, Grosse Pointe Park is listed as the second-safest city in Michigan.”

A retired manager for the Social Security Administration, Clark has lived in the Park for the last 42 years; he and his wife, Susan, raised four children in the city, and now he has grandchildren growing up in the Park.

Clark was involved in scores of improvements in the Park — which he said has experienced “something of a renaissance” in recent years. These include separating the storm and sanitary sewer systems, installing the Jefferson Avenue islands, developing a condominium complex at Jefferson and Lakepointe Street, undertaking major improvements at City Hall, removing residents from the federal flood plain, and dozens of new amenities at the city’s parks, many of them coordinated with the nonprofit Grosse Pointe Park Foundation.

“Anything that’s good about this city — you were a great part of it,” Robson said. “Things that people take for granted — you were a part of it.”

Clark said credit is actually due to all of the city leaders who worked on these endeavors, including his predecessors.

City Councilman Daniel Grano was among the officials who noted that Clark could always be counted on to recall the history of a past council decision or issue in the city.

“It’s a loss to this body, not having you up here with your institutional knowledge,” Grano told Clark. “That’ll be truly missed, and I will miss your leadership.”

City Councilwoman Lauri Read, who sat next to Clark, said he was a “great resource” to her during the two years they served together.

“You’re someone I could always call with a question or for advice. … Thank you for your many years of service,” Read said.

City Councilwoman Aimee Rogers Fluitt, one of the new council members elected in November, said she encountered Clark — who was also running for the council at that time — as she was campaigning.

“I was pounding the pavement and knocking on doors,” Fluitt said. “And the door opened, and there was Mr. Clark. He actually spent 20 minutes with me, giving me tips and advice and offering to help me.”

Citing Clark’s affection for philosophy — and Aristotle in particular — City Councilwoman Michele Hodges shared several Aristotle quotes she felt pertained to Clark’s character as she praised his work for the city.

“I owe a debt of gratitude to the community for allowing me to represent their interests,” Clark said.

At a time when politics are so often marked by “discord and dysfunction,” Clark said the Park City Council has succeeded by “respecting others,” even when there was a policy disagreement.

“Over the three decades I’ve had the pleasure of being engaged in the council, we’ve been deliberative and collegial,” Clark said. “If that can be done, then all the rest falls into place.”