GREENFIELD – A four-term city council member hopes to take his experience in local government to the mayor’s office.
Kerry Grass is in a three-way race for the Republican nomination against Tyler Rankins and Guy Titus. Democrat Nate Anderson is running uncontested. Current Mayor Chuck Fewell, a Republican, is not seeking re-election.
Grass said he’s motivated to run for mayor because he was raised with the idea that helping others is an essential way of life, adding he spent his youth learning teamwork and leadership skills in 4-H. His parents were public servants, and he followed in their footsteps throughout his youth and then his adulthood as a firefighter and paramedic.
“I am driven by my love of people and want to create an environment of collaboration and teamwork to accomplish great goals,” Grass told the Daily Reporter in an email. “Helping people is something I care about. I want to continue to work with the citizens, employees of the city, and each city department to move Greenfield forward.”
Grass spent over 32 years as a firefighter and 21 years as a paramedic with the Pike Township Fire Department in Marion County. He served in multiple roles in the department, including engineer, safety officer, emergency duty officer, backup lieutenant and executive officer to battalion chief.
“I bring a unique skill set to the table from the fire service,” Grass said.
He currently works part time as a family assistant for Erlewein Mortuary and Crematory.
Grass was elected to Greenfield City Council in 2007 and took office in 2008 while remaining on the fire department full time. He represents District 5 on the city’s south side. Republican Thomas Moore and Democrat Bradley Morris are running for the seat.
“I have wide-ranging experiences serving on the city council,” Grass said, pointing to his four years as council president pro tempore and over 10 years as budget chairman or co-chairman while maintaining a balanced budget for all city departments.
Grass has also served on The Economic Development Committee, Utilities, Greenfield and Hancock County Communications Committee, Infrastructure Board, Environmental Affairs Board and the Greenfield Government Advisory Board.
“I feel that serving on these committees and boards as a councilman has given me a well-rounded background knowledge of the city’s processes and highlights my vast experience with city government affairs,” he said. “I am ready to hit the ground running.”
One aspect that sticks out to him throughout his 16 years on the council is the growth Greenfield has experienced.
Greenfield has also attracted new businesses downtown, he continued.
“The downtown area is ever changing and is the heart of the city,” he said, adding it’s “a paramount attraction and enhances cultural amenities with the arts, shopping, restaurants, theatre, and the new Depot Street Park.”
He is particularly proud of that park, noting the people its events and amenities have drawn to downtown, by which nearby businesses benefit as well.
Grass also pointed to park extensions that encourage healthy living and create safe walk-ability to the downtown area. He referred to a project that improved Potts ditch drainage and decreased the chance of flooding downtown. The city is currently replacing its outdated wastewater treatment plant, he noted. Public safety agencies have received boosts as well, he continued, like body cameras, mobile data terminals and rotating car programs for the police department, and a new ladder truck, engines and ambulances for the fire territory.
If elected, his goal would be to continue supporting the creation and growth of the local economy, he said. Grass added he would also strive to provide the best possible public safety.
“I work closely with local, state and federal officials alike to make sure the city leaves no stone unturned when it comes to seeking all available sources to fund additional needs for all city departments, including personnel,” he said.
Greenfield’s roads and streets continue to deteriorate at an alarming rate, Grass said, not only hindering economic development efforts but also posing a public safety concern. He pointed to the $1 million match the state awarded the city late last year for road improvements.
“As a member of the city council, I strongly supported this effort, but this is just one potential source of funding,” he said. “In the coming years, significant amounts of state and federal grant opportunities will continue to be available. There must be a consistent and coordinated effort to seek and secure as much of that funding as possible if we ever hope to catch up.”
Grass wants to maintain the momentum of and grow the city’s downtown as well.
“I will work with our local businesses to retain and continue to add new business development bringing quality business and jobs to our city,” he said.
He added he would support healthy living initiatives and would like to study traffic flow patterns to see how travel throughout the city could be more efficient.
Grass and his wife are members of Brandywine Community Church, which he said they attend regularly.
“I still feel that I have been called to serve others,” he said. “My faith has taught me many things in life. Mostly to live with a servant heart for others and to love, meet and serve others where they are.”