Modernizing Our Infrastructure

Great cities take great neighborhoods.

We in Farmington have always prided ourselves on our great neighborhoods. So when we talk of progress, we owe it to ourselves to make sure that all our residents — in neighborhoods across the city — are prioritized in that vision, with investments like roads, trees, water mains, sidewalks, and broadband.

WATER/SEWER

When I saw a video of someone paddling down Mayfield Street in a canoe, I grabbed an umbrella and walked through the flood to see how deep it was. The water came up to my thighs — and that was on the sidewalk. I posted the photos on social media, and everyone was horrified. Then we looked at the numbers for funding the repairs. And while Mayfield Street was a highly visible breakdown, it far from the only infrastructure work that Farmington needed.

Council decided to put it to the voters in the form of a 10-year millage, half of which would be dedicated to capital improvements. It was approved overwhelmingly, and we got feedback like “The streetscape is great, but make sure we fund the infrastructure we don’t see, too.”

We took their words to heart. As soon as the millage passed, I worked to get funding for repairing the Mayfield drainage system in the 2019-2020 City budget. The project was completed in late 2020, and “Mayfield Lake” is now once again a normal residential street. At the same time, we did major repairs to the Bel-Aire sewer system, now complete.

I then joined fellow councilmembers in requesting a plan to tackle the rest of Farmington’s aging below-ground infrastructure. It’s a massive undertaking. To be as efficient as possible, I supported a policy to combine water/sewer/road repair whenever possible.

TREES

Trees are city infrastructure as much as sidewalks, roads, and water/sewer. They make our neighborhoods desirable — and, like other forms of infrastructure, they need to be maintained. Like our aging water/sewer system, we can’t replace all the trees at once. But once we know what needs replacing, we can plan for it and put money aside to do the work. I got a tree study moved to the top of our official Council Goals, and it is now underway. It will ID failing trees, tell us what trees we should plant where, help the City with a maintenance plan, and make Farmington more eligible for tree grants in the future.

STREETS AND SIDEWALKS

Farmington people love to walk in the community. As your representative, I’ve worked to move the focus of our streets from cars to pedestrians. I have championed the Farmington Road streetscape, which will slow traffic, make downtown more walkable, and help small businesses. I also got the new Pathways Committee underway and currently serve as a member. It’s a group of walkers and bikers from all across the neighborhoods who give input on how to make our streets more pedestrian-friendly. Our mission is to identify places where walking/biking routes are lacking, then recommend those projects to Council and apply for grant funding.

BROADBAND

In a recent study of Farmington and Farmington Hills residents, 46% of respondents — almost half — said they were dissatisfied with their internet service. With work-from-home, remote shopping, remote education, and more internet-connected devices than ever before, the pandemic has shown that fast, reliable internet has become a necessity. People are using more internet than ever, and this need is not going away.

One way for Farmington to future-proof our city is to invest in municipal broadband (you can dive into Farmington/FH-specific details here). I support the idea of treating high-speed, reliable, and affordable broadband as a public utility, along with electricity, gas, and water. This should be a voter-approved investment — and from looking at Nextdoor and community Facebook groups, where a post pops up every few weeks with dozens of complaints about Spectrum and Wow, I’m confident a strong proposal will gain support.

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