For years, Farmington Hills resident Matthew Strickfaden has had ideas about attracting new families and businesses to the community.
As a city council member, he now has a platform to do something with them.
During a June 14 study session, Strickfaden will roll out “FH20XL-Vision”. The plan begins in the 12 Mile corridor and expands with initiatives that touch every aspect of the community.
Join the 6 p.m. study session via Zoom: zoom.us/j/94954383448, or call 312-626-6799, Webinar ID 949 5438 3448.
“I’ve gotten a lot of input from a lot of people,” he said. “I hope it’s inspiring enough for city council to move forward with it.”
Microcommunities on 12 Mile
The “linchpin,” Strickfaden said, lies in planning and zoning changes for 44 vacant or underutilized properties along 12 Mile, to create “microcommunities”.
“My plan includes changing our ordinances in a way to allow the owners to redevelop those into mixed use residential and retail,” he said. “We can get things like common areas, bike paths, green spaces… It would make people want to live there and encourage development.”
Strickfaden envisions each community with its own attractions–restaurants, stores, public art, learning centers, community centers, even outdoor movies projected on glass building walls. Together, they’d create a “city center” for Farmington Hills.
Funding new initiatives
If owners convert 80 percent of their properties, Strickfaden estimates the city could rake in millions of dollars in new property taxes each year. More families also mean more kids for Farmington Public Schools, boosting their revenues as well.
The FH20XL-VISION imagines reinvesting new tax dollars in projects that consider what families want now and 20 years from now. Broad areas include:
- Life enhancement (senior and mental health care, bike trail expansion, and municipal broadband)
- Eco-Living and Alternative Energy (electric and autonomous vehicles, green building)
- Learning to Learn (“Cradle to K” learning, free online education, career training)
- Community Outreach (organic promotion of fire, police, and other services)
- Parks and Recreation (resident-driven activities, lighted trails)
- Arts (year-round activity, public art, expanded concerts, projection-mapped movies)
- Resource Management (emphasis on managing the deer population)
Pay as you go, millage or bond
Strickfaden also includes a long-discussed website redesign and hiring of a marketing and promotions director in his plan. He expects the city would hire 75 to 80 new staff to make it all work.
While the city could take a “pay as you go” approach, Strickfaden also suggests a millage or bond to cover costs. He said a 10-year millage would cost the average homeowner about $194 per year.
Either way, Strickfaden believes FH2020XL could transform the city and create amenities and resources that could make Farmington Hills a popular destination and a place where people from all over the world will want to live.
“It just requires imagination and confidence that it’s really going to help,” he said.