Druzianich donates land to city of Cosmopolis

Longtime Grays Harborites Dan, Darryl and Mike Druzianich were in town Thursday to donate land to the city of Cosmopolis.

The land in question, behind the (former) Peterbilt building in Cosmopolis and then out to the Aberdeen-Cosmopolis Trail, plus the land north of 3rd Street in Cosmopolis, is about 24 acres large. The Druzianichs were at Cosmopolis to sign over the land. The land is guaranteed to stay a green space — a park of sorts.

It will not be developed into anything commercial, according to Cosmopolis Mayor Kyle Pauley.

“This is exciting,” Pauley said about the family’s donation. “It’s a great opportunity to expand our park space.”

Pauley said now that the city has the land, they have to check and see what the land can be used for. But, from walking through the land himself, he’s confident in the land’s viability.

“It’s (going to be) a benefit for everybody,” Pauley said.

According to Steve Johnson, an attorney for the city of Cosmopolis, there is no financial aspect to the land donation. Johnson was there to witness Darryl Druzianich sign the two lengthy legal forms. There were two forms because the land is made up of two parcels.

“It’s a gift,” Johnson said. “It’s a complete gift.”

Dan Druzianich said the donation is for the area’s youth.

“We’re always for open space and places for kids,” Dan Druzianich said. “It’s such a different world. When we were growing up, we had Finch Field and Pioneer Park, and those kinds of things. But we never had a big, big place. Back then, Mom would send us out of the house and we’d be gone until we’d (get) home for dinner. So, having places to explore as a kid was always a great thing.”

Darrin Raines, city administrator for the city of Cosmopolis, had a similar experience as the Druzianich family.

“We’d play until the streetlights came on,” Raines said.

The Druzianich family’s ties to Cosmopolis go back to the 1910s.

“My grandfather immigrated from Croatia in 1917,” Dan Druzianich said. “He actually, my dad and their family house was over on Curtis and Boone Street, that little house that’s next to that tavern there. It’s the only house on that block. As you come over the bridge and you go past Swanson’s, There’s that big, tall, square building. That little house right there? That’s my grandparents’ house.”

Pauley wants to start developing some sort of park soon. He’d love to go out and apply for grant funding “as soon as possible,” in order to start to develop the park space.

Pauley told the Druzianich brothers that he has walked through the land “a bit.”

“There are some trail systems and it’s actually some hard kind of ground,” Pauley said. “There’s some really good land and of course a lot of wetland as well. But once we start getting in and clearing out some trails we’ll get a better idea.”

The discussions between the family and city have gone back about two years, according to Raines. The family reached out to the city.

Raines was excited about Thursday’s donation. He said he has ideas of volleyball, pickleball and other field space for youth sports being in that space.

“It’ll be a place for all ages,” Raines said.

Mike Druzianich added it’s “good,” to donate the land for the community.

“It’s good for the town,” Mike Druzianich said.

Dan Druzianich said it was great to work with the city.

“The process only took so long because we all get busy, and it wasn’t a high priority to get it done,” Dan Druzianich said. “But they’ve been very responsive, very appreciative of the whole thing. They seem real excited, which makes us happy.”

Contact Reporter Matthew N. Wells at matthew.wells@thedailyworld.com for future story ideas.