To the editor:
In the race for Farmington city council, we see two visions for Farmington. While the incumbents speak of growing the tax base and proclaim their experience of recruiting development to the downtown, the challengers recognize that Farmington is already a place people want to live and that development is a natural extension of that desirability. The job of the city council should be to protect and grow the desirability while ensuring that development does not sacrifice identity.
Farmington continually ranks among the best places to live in Michigan. We all know why: terrific schools, a walkable community, and our historic downtown, jeweled with stately Queen Ann Victorian homes. This authenticity is impossible to recreate; once torn down, it is lost forever.
Incumbent Greg Cowley fails to recognize the value of this authenticity; he will quickly make the “hard decision,” as he calls it, to bulldoze it for the first tax revenue-generating offer that comes along. Joined by incumbents Jeff Scott and Bill Galvin, Cowley’s campaign takes every opportunity to remind us of impending budget doom — at the same time the city has found almost $500,000 to purchase two occupied old houses in the name of redevelopment. Following numbers on a spreadsheet is not a “hard decision.”
Self-serving and haughty, Cowley is a poor choice to lead our city into the future. From food trucks to lemonade stands, Cowley opposes activities that, like our historic character, have energized our community. For him, it’s clear that unless there’s profit for businesses, it has no place here.
On parking, solutions dreamt up in the committee which Cowley sits on as city council liaison have done little to improve perceptions. Regardless of your view on parking, the approval of further draconian restrictions is a failure of Cowley, and certain members of the business community he claims to lead, to build consensus and solve the underlying root cause — employees occupying timed spaces. Galvin and Scott had little choice but to go along, neither able to bring a better solution.
The derelict, blighted Maxfield Training Center will see the bulldozer. The choice before us is clear: whether what replaces it will sacrifice our character for a buck or add to our intrinsic value. With this example and many to come, it will take creativity, flexibility and fresh vision to leverage our current assets and capitalize on new opportunities. That’s why I support Maria Taylor for city council.