If Farmington officials ever propose moving City Hall, they’ll likely face some opposition.
About a dozen residents spoke during a Monday Planning Commission public hearing on the city’s six-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP). The draft document includes 115 potential projects identified by a committee of city officials, staff, and commission members.
Economic and Community Development Director Kevin Christiansen said the CIP, required by state law, is a long-range planning document that “looks at desires for the community.” It helps with the city’s budgeting and planning process, enhances the ability to secure grants, and paves the way for cooperation with other entities to reduce costs, he added.
The document includes estimated costs for relocating City Hall, currently on Liberty Street and Grand River, and making needed improvements like roof replacement and heating/cooling unit replacements. Several residents said they could support some type of combined use for the property, but want the center of local government to remain in the heart of the city.
Stan Bawol, a 35-year resident, said the central location for the Public Safety Department seems logical, given that most Farmington events happen downtown.
“I do understand the building is old and needs renovation and updating, but I would really be upset and move very actively to activate neighbors to protest if this property is shifted to strictly a commercial use,” he said.
Christiansen said while relocating the 55-year-old building is listed as both “long term” and “necessary,” the project is only a possibility.
“We have to look at all of these elements,” he said. “Is it optimal or most efficient to maintain this building?…At least we have some identification of what the needs are and what the costs are going to be.”
“There are things that are unknown,” Planning Commission Vice Chair Steve Majoros said. “We would be remiss to not look at everything the city faces.”
Residents also spoke about throttling back on efforts to add more parking, speeding up work on the Mayfield Street drain system, investing in Flanders Park, and giving strong consideration to how the listed projects will be funded. Public comments were added to a motion forwarding the draft CIP to city council members.