More Than 70 Farmington Residents Turn Out for First Visioning Session – 2013
Those unable to attend the meeting at Farmington High School can still participate in the process.
By Joni Hubred-Golden – Farmington-Farmington Hills Patch – February 19, 2013
Farmington Mayor Tom Buck thought maybe 30 or 40 people would turn out for Monday night first meeting for residents interested in helping create a vision for the city’s future.
Instead, more than 70 people filled tables in the Farmington High School cafeteria. After a brief introduction from consultants Aaron Domini of OHM Advisors and Charlie Fleetham of Project Innovations, the room buzzed with conversation as participants exchanged ideas on topics like public spaces, reputation, community services, housing and mobility.
“I was excited by the turnout,” Buck said. “It sounded like some interesting ideas came out that will help push us forward to be the best Farmington we can be.”
Domini said consultants turned their usual visioning process “upside down”. Rather than starting with a core group of volunteers, they set up a meeting open to everyone, “so you decide what role you want to play in this project,” Domini said.
Residents were invited to sign up on one of three lists, to serve as a core member, a “flex” member or an observer. Core members, Domini said, would attend four to six task force-like meetings. Fleetham added subcommittees of that group will meet on specific topics as well.
Flex members and observers were those interested in following the process, but with a lighter commitment of time. More than 40 people signed up to become involved.
Ideas raised during table discussions included:
- Does downtown Farmington really want to be a retail location, or should its focus be geared more toward entertainment and attracting younger people to the community?
- Create Farmington branded clothing.
- Help Farmington better navigate the time between economic downturns and economic recoveries.
- Have a winter festival event in January or February to get people excited about coming to Farmington in the winter.
Consultants noted the absence of younger people in the audience. Sean Murphy, Farmington’s representative to the Millennial Mayors Congress, a network of young leaders in metro Detroit, said the key to getting them more involved is to first “figure out where they are”, then engage them.
“Social media is big for our generation,” Murphy said. He added that group of younger people who attended a local mixer for millennials held in May were very interested in being engaged.
Fleetham said everyone can keep track of and contribute ideas to the process through a link on the City of Farmington website as well as a project page on Facebook. Anyone who wishes to share ideas privately can email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. The next meeting will be held sometime in March.
Domini said Farmington’s visioning process is on track to be completed within six months.
“We are going to try to do this project quick and hit it hard, and keep the energy going,” he said.