Our F2H Votes series brings you candidate interviews and information about the 2019 local elections in Farmington and Farmington Hills. Follow local election news on social media with the #F2HVotes19 hashtag.
Sara Bowman, 45, works as Legal Operations Manager, Kopka Pinkus Dolin, Attorneys at Law, Farmington Hills. She was born and raised in Farmington Hills, and purchased a home in the City of Farmington in 1999.
- Elected to Farmington City Council 2015, Appointed Mayor Pro Tem 2017
- Appointed to Farmington Planning Commission 2008, served as Chair 2012-2015
- Member of the Founders Festival Committee 2005-2008
Why did you decide to run for a seat on council?
As a life-long resident of Farmington … my mother’s family moved here in the early 1950’s … I believe I have a responsibility to help our community to continue to grow and prosper. I am a graduate of Farmington Public Schools, and my husband John and I look forward to our son’s graduation from Farmington High School in June 2020. I am invested in the community and take great pride in how our citizens have welcomed multi-cultural diversity as well as how our city government focuses on creating a safe, fiscally rational environment. My contributions to the city council can help ensure the continuation of proven processes and procedures which have made our city so strong.
What unique strengths will you bring to the table?
During my four years on the council, I have participated in countless county- and state-wide municipal governance activities which have trained me to understand how to get things done. I’ve personally spoken with dozens of business-owners, from start-up ribbon-cutting ceremonies to well-established shops, always listening closely when businesses describe their needs and ambitions. In my professional life, where I oversee dozens of attorneys and support staff, I’ve learned the important technique of negotiations and conflict resolutions that result in positive outcomes.
What one issue do you plan to address first if you win a seat in November?
Among my top priorities is the implementation of the Farmington Streetscape. We’ve seen what the Grand River Streetscape has done to bolster business and commerce, and the positive ripple effect it has caused on developments, particularly to the east of Farmington Road. With the recent voter approved millage, it’s important that we make good on the promise that the City will prioritize capital improvements. The Farmington Streetscape will improve walkability and connectivity to our businesses on the west side of Farmington Road and south of Grand River and contribute to the vibrance of our entire city.
There’s a new emphasis on arts in Farmington, particularly downtown. What role do you believe the arts play in building a stronger and more resilient community, and how will you support the arts as a council member?
I believe public art is a critical reflection of the community. It shows an appreciation of culture and creativity that goes beyond the basic functions of homes and businesses. We all learn something when exposed to art in any form. Soon after winning a seat in the 2015 election, I requested to serve as the City Council representative on a newly formed Public Arts Committee. We identified areas in and around Downtown for such additions as murals, decorative lighting and artwork. Since then, we’ve seen the mounting our first mural on State Street with a second mural recently approved. I supported the DDA’s efforts to bring sculptures on loan to Riley Park to enhance our residents’ and guests’ experience in our Downtown. I also support the continued growth of the annual Art on the Grand exhibitions, which attract many visitors from surrounding communities.
What measures would you support to make the city, and especially downtown, more walkable and bike-able?
I am always looking for ways to create and connect bike paths, especially during road reconstruction, because these present rare, unique opportunities. I supported the “road diet” on Grand River east of Downtown during the 2016 resurfacing project that slowed traffic through town and added on-street parking creating a buffer to the sidewalks. I also supported the “road diet” on Shiawassee west of Farmington Road to add on-street parking and slow traffic flow to the 25 MPH designated limit through that residential portion of town. I voted to approve an expenditure to add a rapid flashing beacon to one of the busiest crosswalks on Farmington Road south of Grand River, as well as restriped crosswalks to be more visible. I also wholly supported the crosswalk ordinance change that now requires vehicles to stop on both sides of the road for pedestrians intending to cross, an ordinance that exceeds the State Law. I also voted to approve an increase in capital improvement spending allotting $50,000 of new money to be spent on sidewalk repairs.
Both cities are looking at whether it makes sense to create a municipal broadband system. What’s your take on this idea?
I am always supportive of reviewing initiatives that could benefit residents and save money. At this early stage of the research into creating a municipal broadband system, I have not yet seen hard data convincing me that this particular initiative provides more benefit than encumbrance. Mainly, at this point, I do not believe it is the municipality’s responsibility to operate as a service provider.