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Longtime WXYZ news anchor Stephen Clark will retire early next year, the station announced Monday.

On air and via a social media post Monday evening, Clark cited his desire to spend more time with his family as the reason for retiring, particularly his granddaughter Scarlet, who has spinal muscular atrophy.

“I’ve come to the decision that it’s time for me to retire, take some time to spend with Scarlet, and with my dad, not to mention my own children and my wife,” Clark said in a video on wxyz.com. He also mentioned the recent passing of his mother.

Clark, who has been at the station for 16 years, not only announced his retirement Monday, but revealed that he and his family have a goal of rasing $1 million to build a playground in Oakland county for kids of all abilities and disabilities. He asks that anyone looking to help them reach that goal contact the nonprofit Scarlet’s Smile Foundation.

Clark says he’ll also work on his music and songwriting at his other home in Nashville, and also will stay active on social media.

“At this point I’d probably say I’ll miss you—but I won’t; mainly because I’m not going anywhere as far as Facebook is concerned. I’ll still be here, snarky as ever,” he wrote on Facebook Monday.

“I like to think I’ve been one of the most accessible TV anchors in the business. I don’t plan to be any less accessible so please stay in touch.”

He’ll give his last broadcast at the end of February.

mbaetens@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @melodybaetens

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