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5 Great Things About Living in Farmington

What's the best thing about living in Farmington? Tell us in a comment on this story.

Farmington has award-winning volunteers who work with the Downtown Development Authority Main Street program. Photo credit:
Farmington has award-winning volunteers who work with the Downtown Development Authority Main Street program. Photo credit:
This week, Money magazine listed Farmington in 27th place on its "Best Places to Live" annual list. 

But what makes the city such a great place? We've gathered a top five list based on the data included in the magazine: 

1. A historic downtown that's not stuck in the past. 

You can see the city's history in the Village Mall, Farmington Civic Theater and other classic structures, but they're surrounded by landscaping and more modern elements that are part of the streetscape project completed in 2009. The magazine cited $3 million of current investment, including the Grove Street renovation, among its reasons for putting Farmington on the list. 

2. The economy is growing.  

Money's collection of data about the city includes 3.32 percent in job growth between 2010 and 2012, and that number is likely to increase with the opening of businesses like Olie's Outlet and True Value hardware in the Farmington Crossing mall, Los Tres Amigos restaurant in downtown Farmington, and new businesses that have leased space at Drakeshire Plaza

3. It's safe. 

While there have been some recent high-profile cases, Farmington is a safe community. The Money magazine report cites a rate of 1 personal crime incident and and 15 property crime incidents per 1,000 residents. The Public Safety department's 2012 annual report shows a decrease in the most serious crimes. 

4. The houses are affordable. 

Farmington's median home price, $118,525 is the lowest among the top 50 cities on Money magazine's list. In fact, it is less than a third of the median home price in Sharon, MA, which is at the top of the list. 

5. People are generous. 

More than 330 volunteers keep events like Art on the Grand, the Farmington Farmers and Artisans Market, Founders Festival and Harvest Moon going–and that's just one of the ways people give of their time and talents in Farmington. 

What's the best thing about living in Farmington? Tell us in a comment on this story. 
Greg Cowley August 13, 2013 at 08:28 AM
Despite the dark economic times in Michigan investment in Farmington's downtown has been stimulated by creative leadership, a passion for our community, teamwork & pride. Congrats to all the players in this effort! Sadly, some players who are NOT supporting the mission should be replaced with investors with vision and the same passion for success! To see or participate in the vision for Farmington in the next 25 years attend the Vision Presentation Wed-8/14 at the Masonic - 6:30pm
Beth Montalvo August 13, 2013 at 11:55 AM
I count the weekly Farmington Farmers & Artisans Markets among the things I believe make Farmington a wonderful place to live.
Michael Ritenour August 13, 2013 at 05:50 PM
I agree with Greg Cowley, and I'll call out the overall user-friendliness of the city. All our attractions--the parks, the Civic, the restaurants, the neighborhoods--are within a short, pleasant walk of one another. The restaurants are all very good or excellent, and it's great to be able to go from one to another without having to drive. The streetscape improvements are first-class, and the continuing upgrades to the attractions in and around Riley Park are very positive. I love our little corner of the world, and I encourage everyone to attend the Vision Plan meeting (which, sadly, is the first one I'll have to miss).
Bryce August 13, 2013 at 05:57 PM
Be even nicer if one could keep a few chickens!
Darren Whittaker August 14, 2013 at 10:31 AM
Farmington's volunteers deserve to be congratulated. It's always good to see civic-minded people step up to help their community. Having said that - downtown Farmington still lacks the primary component for long-term success, which is a thriving business atmosphere. For all of the money spent (and it's a lot) there are far too few viable businesses opening downtown, and way too many long-empty stores that create a glaring, sad sight for those who visit, either frequently or occasionally. The streetscape is pretty, and all the doodads are nice, but where is the focus on attracting and keeping the kind of businesses that will ultimately ensure a thriving downtown? Only a few new businesses have opened over the last few years, and a good number of them have gone belly-up fairly quickly. Why is that? On one hand, Mr. Cowley is right, we need more investors with vision and quality business plans. On the other, we need dedicated, competent leaders that can help attract these folks. More attention needs to be paid to actual recruitment, and maybe a little less attention (and money) thrown at feel-good attempts at cosmetic improvements.
grama August 14, 2013 at 01:26 PM
Bryce - If you want chickens, move to the country. I know I wouldn't want to live next door to chickens !!
Michael Ritenour August 14, 2013 at 05:06 PM
Mr. Whittaker, you're exactly right about the vacant storefronts and the need for more viable businesses. But if the Vision Plan process has shown us anything in this "chicken and egg" debate, it's that businesses will naturally follow traffic and demographics. One can recruit businesses and offer incentives until the cows come home, but unless there's a critical mass of people coming downtown at regular intervals, stores will not see opportunities. That's why the streetscape and other public spending is, in my opinion, the right approach: it's designed to attract the kind of downtown traffic that will, in turn, attract businesses. The next step may be to try to attract a healthier mix of new, younger individuals and couples seeking downtown apartment/loft/condo/townhouse living, perhaps on the Maxfield Training Center site or other potential locations. That's the demographic most stores seek, along with young families.
Bryce September 02, 2013 at 11:11 PM
Gemma, Agriculture and livestock were present in Farmington long before people decided to build sub-divisions here. If you don't like the way things were, and still should be, in this area, why don't you get an apartment in a high rise in downtown Detroit?
grama September 03, 2013 at 07:58 AM
Bryce; My mother grew up on a farm but that doesn't mean I have to like farming or livestock. Agriculture is very important but should stay in the country. ( I don't like the smells either) I have emphysema. But at my age, I have learned nothing stays the same. Change is inevitable. Look around you!! Even the high-rise apartments in Detroit are fairly new.
Darren Whittaker September 05, 2013 at 12:57 PM
Mr. Ritenour: You've got it backwards. Traffic and demographics follow where there are good things being offered by businesses. Savvy investors know how to gauge potential, and the reason many have avoided the downtown area is that they haven't seen much of that potential there. Even with the streetscape, the pavilion and park, and all the money spent on 'decoration', a great many potential investors have passed on downtown Farmington and gone on to other places where they've done quite well. Others that have taken the chance and opened here have struggled and/or gone belly-up. "Build it and they will come"? That's only a line from a movie...

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