Let’s grow the downtown around its historic roots.
Does the Farmington Historic District seem like a good place for a big, trendy, boxy apartment building? I’m not anti-apartment, but that’s just out of scale. From the commentary I’ve heard about the Maxfield Training Center redevelopment, it’s clear many Farmington residents feel the same way.
For many of us, protecting our city’s older buildings is important to maintaining Farmington’s identity as a historic community. Once we lose our historic places, or turn over space to a parking structure or a trendy new complex, there’s no going back.
As Farmington grows upward and outward, I’ll stay focused on leveraging our city’s historic character, its parks and green spaces, its small-town feel — and redeveloping around our roots to let the city’s character shine through.
As your representative, I won’t blindly approve rezonings and redevelopments without first considering how those affect you and your neighborhood. I will insist that new development be compatible with existing neighborhoods, avoid destroying historic places and natural areas, and minimize the amount of new traffic.
And I walk the walk. When it came to picking between high-density apartments or medium-density condos for the Maxfield Training Center redevelopment, I voted for brownstone-style townhouses.
The townhome proposal fits into the area without overshadowing the hundred-year-old neighborhood next door. It avoids creating a huge asphalt “sea” of parking, and it’s also what people in the area overwhelmingly said they want.
I’m also a huge champion of adaptive reuse, a type of historic preservation that renovates old buildings for cool new uses. I am proud to say I have approved two adaptive reuse projects in Farmington: the Masonic Temple, being upcycled into Blue Hat Coffee, and The Village Mall, our iconic 1920s bank building being transformed into glass-walled offices by new owner GLP Financial.
I’d love to see something similar done with the Old Winery at Grand River/Orchard Lake. It’s got great potential, and once it sells, I’d like to see the City work with property owners to redevelop some of the vacant buildings and strip malls into a cool “Farmington East” area with new housing and stores and the Winery as the hub, walkable from neighborhoods like Floral Park.