The city of Grandview Heights is throwing a retirement party for Ray DeGraw, and the public is invited.

The parks and recreation department is organizing the retirement party, which will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12, at Woodlands Backyard, 668 Grandview Ave.

“It will be an informal open-house type of event – a chance for people to stop by and thank the mayor for his 30-plus years of service to the community,” parks and recreation director Mike Patterson said.

DeGraw is retiring as mayor at the end of the year after four terms and 16 years. Before he was elected mayor, DeGraw served 19 years on City Council, planning commission and other city commissions.

City staff, council members and volunteers will pay tribute to DeGraw as well as director of administration/economic development Patrik Bowman and administrative secretary/clerk of council Debbie Nicodemus at a holiday luncheon Dec. 12 at the Grandview Center, senior recreation supervisor Marta Durban said.

Bowman and Nicodemus also will retire at the end of the year, and other city staff have said they may retire soon as well.

“The luncheon is an opportunity for those of us with the city to pay tribute to them,” Durban said. “The evening event is designed as a public event.”

As mayor, DeGraw led the city through a time of economic distress during the Great Recession to a time of revitalization, including development of Grandview Yard, Durban said.

“Through it all, Pat Bowman and the mayor have been together as a team, and Debbie has been such a big part of the city in her role,” she said.

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