Farmington City Council agrees to purchase Maxfield Training Center
The Farmington City Council voted 4-1 at its May 4 meeting to approve an amendment to its agreement to purchase the Maxfield Training Center (MTC), located at 33000 Thomas Street in Downtown Farmington, together with an area of adjacent property within Shiawassee Park, from the Farmington Public Schools. The amended purchase price is $690,000.
In June 2019, the City of Farmington and Farmington Public Schools entered into a purchase and sale agreement under which the City agreed to buy the roughly 3-acre MTC property and the portion of Shiawassee Park that is owned by the Schools (the westernmost end of the park) but leased by the City for use as parkland. The purchase price was initially to be $750,000, and since signing the original agreement the City has been conducting its due diligence -- survey and title work, as well as soil and environmental testing.
The environmental site assessment and subsurface investigations received toward the end of 2019, which were conducted by the environmental engineering firm AKT Peerless on behalf of the City, revealed contamination underneath the existing parking lot in the southwest corner of the MTC site. That condition resulted in a delay in completing the transfer of the property, which is now set to occur within the next couple of months, and will need to be addressed and remediated with any future redevelopment of the site.
The City’s plan to purchase the property stems from a strategic desire to have more control over what is developed there. The MTC property is located in the heart of Downtown Farmington and is expected to be a key part of Farmington’s growing vitality.
“We would like to see this property developed in accordance with the City’s Master Plan,” explained City Manager David Murphy.
The MTC property is, in fact, the centerpiece of the City’s strategic plan for the area, and its acquisition gives the City maximum control over its redevelopment, including the chance to accomplish its long-term goal of connecting Downtown and Shiawassee Park
According to Murphy, City ownership may also help to streamline the development process and ensure that any future developer and the City are “on the same page” when it comes to re-use of the property. Many of the incentives that may be necessary to redevelop the property can only be granted by the City, so its investment early in the process should be a signal to potential purchasers that it will participate in a redevelopment that meets the City’s expectations.
The purchase also consolidates all of Shiawassee Park in the City’s sole ownership. Although Shiawassee Park seems like one integrated park property, the westernmost end is actually owned by the Schools and leased to the City. This dual ownership has, in the past, hindered grant applications, which typically require single, unencumbered ownership.
The City Council’s determination to move forward with the purchase under the revised terms of the agreement confirms a longstanding commitment to both its Downtown and its parks that has been central to its vision and plans for years. The Council appreciates the School Board’s cooperation in its efforts to transform both for the good of the City and the School District.
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