Farmington area leaders talk about ‘State of the Cities’

Farmington civic and business leaders on Wednesday talked about crime rates, business growth, real estate trends and a new direction for Farmington Public Schools during the Greater Farmington Area Chamber’s annual State of the Cities breakfast.

Chamber Executive Director Connor Osborn emceed the event, held at the Holiday Inn & Suites in Farmington Hills. Speakers included:

  • Kevin Price, Vice President of Operations, Beaumont-Farmington Hills hospital;
  • Annette Compo, Annette Compo Home Team-Keller Williams;
  • Farmington Mayor Sara Bowman;
  • Farmington Hills Mayor Vicki Barnett; and
  • Farmington Public Schools Superintendent Bob Herrera.

Their presentations included the following highlights:

Kevin Price recapped the hospital’s $150 million renovation and expansion project, which included a Level 2 Trauma Center, surgery suite, lobby renovations, and a new, 5-story tower with patient beds and dedicated oncology, orthopedic, and respiratory care units. Of the hospital’s 2,000 employees, 900 live in Farmington and Farmington Hills.

Annette Compo shared information about the local real estate market, and said the area is experiencing a shortage of homes for sale. In 2019, 131 houses and 55 condos sold in Farmington, with a price point just under $200,000. In Farmington Hills, 862 homes and 263 condos sold, with an average price just above $200,000. She expects prices to rise as spring approaches. Compo also pointed out that 30-year mortgage rates are at a historic low, around 4 percent.

Mayor Sara Bowman pointed to record low crime rates, with major crimes down 21 percent. Residential property values have increased 6 percent, and commercial property values, 8 percent, continuing an upward trend. Farmington will welcome 14 new homes in the Liberty Hill subdivision on 10 Mile Road. The city last year refinanced debt, saving taxpayers $1 million, Bowman said. She also discussed the sale of the Village Mall property to Farmington Hills-based GLP Financial Group, and said Five Below, a discount store that caters to teens and tweens, is moving into the former Dress Barn space in downtown Farmington.

Mayor Vicki Barnett spoke first about the transformation of Harrison High to The Hawk, a state-of-the-art community center and park. She said Farmington Hills also saw historic lows in crime rates last year, while the Hills Fire Department responded to a record 10,380 calls for service. Barnett said new developments will bring 73 new homes and 32 townhomes to the city, and she recapped millions of dollars in new commercial investment at the Nissan Technical Center, Karmanos Cancer Center, and the former soccer fields at 12 Mile and Drake Roads.

Supt. Bob Herrera outlined a strategic process that will involve the community in discussions about preparing the next generation of students, meeting individual needs and personalizing instruction. Starting in April/May, he said, the community will co-design a portrait of a life-long learner, while staff leaders are trained at the classroom, school, and district level. Herrera, who was hired last summer, said the district needs a more student-centered vision and culture.

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