Longtime Councilman and former Mayor Donald Fracassi speaks Dec. 16 in front of the Southfield City Council. The council voted recently to rename the Southfield Municipal Complex the Donald F. Fracassi Municipal Campus.

Longtime Councilman and former Mayor Donald Fracassi speaks Dec. 16 in front of the Southfield City Council. The council voted recently to rename the Southfield Municipal Complex the Donald F. Fracassi Municipal Campus.

Photo by Donna Dalziel


Municipal complex renamed for longtime mayor, councilman

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published December 23, 2019

 Fracassi kisses his wife, Karen, at the meeting.

Fracassi kisses his wife, Karen, at the meeting.

Photo by Donna Dalziel

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SOUTHFIELD — The Southfield Municipal Complex has been renamed the Donald F. Fracassi Municipal Campus.

The Southfield City Council unanimously approved the change Dec. 9. On Dec. 16, Fracassi was recognized for the honor, followed by a reception at City Hall.

The campus houses many city departments and offices, such as the Police, Parks and Recreation, and Building departments, Southfield Cable 15, the Southfield Public Library, and many others.

Fracassi’s political career with the city spans over 50 years. He was first elected to the council in 1967. He served as acting mayor and council president from 1969 to 1972. He served as mayor from 1973 to 2001. He took a brief break from city politics and returned to the City Council in 2003, serving as acting mayor in 2015 and again as a councilman until 2019. Fracassi ran for re-election last November, but was not elected.

Fracassi was raised in Southfield and attended Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills. He and his wife, Karen, a graduate of Southfield High School, raised six children in the city. He attended the University of Detroit and Lawrence Technological University.

Council President Pro Tem Tawnya Morris presented Fracassi with a proclamation on behalf of the city. Mayor Ken Siver unveiled a rendering of the new signage slated for the outside of the building, and state Sen. Jeremy Moss presented Fracassi with a proclamation on behalf of the state.

Surrounded by his family, Fracassi hugged his wife as he stood to accept the award.

“I have lived in Southfield for most of my life, and you all know the love I have for her,” he said. “Southfield is 60 years old, and for 50 years I have walked through these doors of this chamber.”

Fracassi thanked all of the people who have helped him over the years and spoke on the importance of a diverse community.

“I will remember this night for the rest of my life, and I will cherish the 50 years of memories and all my love for the city and what made it the ‘Center of It All,’” he said. “I really cherish this evening and what you’ve done. This is something I believed would never happen.”

Each member of the council had the opportunity to say a few words, and each one thanked Fracassi for the wisdom he’s shared.

“I think I first met you when I was 16 years old,” Councilwoman Nancy Banks said. “I really believe my beginning began because of you, when you one year hosted a government day program at Southfield High School. I ran for mayor, (and) you sent me an agenda packet at my house. I job shadowed you the whole day, and I sat up here next to you. And at that time I thought, ‘I think I want a position in government one day.’”

According to city officials, some of Fracassi’s most impressive accomplishments include implementing the first 911 emergency system in Michigan and one of the first EMS and paramedic programs in the U.S. in 1972.

More of his accomplishments include:

• Helping establish curbside recycling.

• Founding the Eight Mile Boulevard Association.

• Establishing Southfield as a “Smart Zone.”

• Being nominated in 2002 as Michiganian of the Year.

• Helping establish the Downtown Development Authority.

• Helping establish the east-west route for Interstate 696 and its sound walls.

• Winning the Diversity Award from the National Black Caucus.

• Being named the Jewish War Veterans’ Man of the Year.

• Winning the United Negro College Award.

Signage for the Donald F. Fracassi Municipal Campus will be completed and installed in early 2020, officials said.

“I was never one to look at awards and pats on the back — just get your job done and do it right,” Fracassi said.

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