I'm surprised I missed this. This is extremely rare here in Michigan, that is the merging of two cities. In fact, merging, in general, is very rare, here, where almost every square mile of land effectively operates as its own "city," even the low-grade civil townships.
Hopefully, this is a sign of a move towards consolidation and away from municipal duplicity, which, IMO, promotes regionalism, which isn't promoted much in this state, at all, to deal with serious urban issues. In fact, our system is set up to deincentivize regionalism if you ask me.
I tend to believe, though, that this has more to do with the fact that these areas are being passed by for newer suburbs. But, maybe it will take just that realization to realize they will be stronger, together, than separated.
Farmingtons merger considered
Study of benefits to be aired Monday in Farmington Hills
December 17, 2006
BY KORIE WILKINS
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
Something that's been quietly discussed for years -- the merger of tiny Farmington with its larger neighbor, Farmington Hills -- is now coming to the forefront.
At its Monday meeting, the Farmington Hills City Council will release the results of a consultant's study trumpeting a merger, and people can ask questions and comment, said Farmington Hills Mayor Vicki Barnett.
"We already share so much," she said. "This is an opportunity. If we don't start talking about it, who knows what will happen?"
With the state's economy in a slump and revenue-sharing dollars on the decline, officials say there is a need to look into ways to save money.
Farmington Mayor JoAnne McShane said she's open to studying the issue and looking into the pros and cons for both communities. Her city has about 11,000 residents.
"We are a small city," she said. "You say to yourself, 'Is bigger better?' "
Masha Silver, one of 84,000 Farmington Hills residents, has lived in the city since the 1980s. She said she's heard talk of a merger for years. While not opposed to the idea, she doubts it'll ever happen.
"It probably should happen," she said. "But people get very jealous of their communities and don't want to give that up."
The two cities already share several services, including library and district court. Some residents and officials wonder if they could share more, before merger talks go any further.
"We need to keep an open mind here," said Ken Chiara, a Farmington resident for nearly 40 years.
While he's not sold on the idea of a merger, Chiara said he understands the need to study it. He likes the small-town feel of Farmington and doesn't want to lose that, but acknowledges there are many reasons to see if money could be saved.
"We already share a lot of the same values," he said. "We're as close as two communities can be."
Barnett said it's that closeness that merits a deeper look at the issue. That's why, earlier this year, Farmington Hills decided to spend $83,000 on the consultant's study, which was conducted by Hooker De Jong, a Muskegon-based architectural and engineering firm.
According to the study, the city will continue to grow and change, becoming more diverse. The population is likely to age, with fewer young families moving in.
Also, the city is nearly built-out, making redevelopment a priority. In the study, the consultants recommend eight-story buildings near Orchard Lake Road and 12 Mile and near Haggerty and Grand River.
The city will look at keeping its current standards in three ways: financially, socially and environmentally. That means officials need to look for ways to save money, provide services for residents that are sensitive to different cultural and racial expectations and keep new development environmentally sensitive.
"We want to keep Farmington Hills vibrant, young and exciting while retaining our core values and history," Barnett said.
Contact KORIE WILKINS at 248-351-5186 or firstname.lastname@example.org.