Notable neighbor: Arlyn Grussing

If you ask longtime Bloomington resident Arlyn Grussing what one of the most important things in life is, he’ll give you a quick answer: It’s fun. 

“You can do a lot more with fun than you can by being too serious,” Grussing said. “Growing older is required, but growing up is optional.”

This philosophy has carried him through decades of a unique career with job titles ranging from city planner to Santa. After starting his city planning career in Iowa, Grussing began work at the City of Bloomington. He served as the City’s planning director from 1975 – 1985, a decade of big development.

“We were doing so much around I-494 at that point with new offices and the Normandale Lake office park—during those years Bloomington went from a suburb to a city,” he said. 

Grussing also gave back to the growing community spending years coaching football, basketball and baseball with the Bloomington Athletic Association, serving on the parent-child board for the YMCA, serving as president of the Jefferson High School football booster club, running chains for Jefferson football for 25 years and volunteering through his church. 

“My philosophy is you have to give back—there are a lot of takers in this world. It’s really important to contribute,” he said. 

Now Grussing brings joy to others in a different way—playing Santa. He started out in malls and now runs a business that provides a more comprehensive holiday experience. He even wrote a children’s book, Santa’s Magic Christmas.