FARMINGTON - A new grassroots group, Farmington Neighborhood Outreach, aims to create informed residents while improving transparency with city and school officials and find solutions to improve the community.
As a Farmington resident for 16 years, Kim Stewart serves as leader of the informal group that meets monthly at Farmington Library. The next meeting will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 17.
"I think the end goal is just to get more people informed on what is happening within their community - things they can help with and things happening within our government systems so that we are able to step forward when the time is right and it suits our families," Stewart said. "People are going to fight for what is important to them."
The group formed in response to issues that arose in Farmington in the past year. Farmington City Council member Joshua Hoyt formed the group after his election to seek more transparency from all levels of government.
Stewart said right away Hoyt worked to form an anti-bullying project and this neighborhood outreach group.
"It is kind of his brainchild and his ideas as far as wanting the community to come together and be knowledgeable about what is happening within our city," Stewart said. "There are so many people, myself included, who wonder what is happening and what is going on because I don't go to school board meetings or city council meetings and I was really hands off before."
The group also formed as a response to former Farmington Police Chief Brian Lindquist leaving the city, Stewart said. Lindquist signed a separation agreement with the city of Farmington this past August.
"It made me want to step forward and made me want to be a little more active, especially with everything that happened with the police chief and other changes happening with our city," Stewart said.
The neighborhood group is still in the formation stage, Stewart said.
"The end goal is to get the community to come together to make Farmington better, however that may be, to find out what is important to that individual may also be what is important to other individuals," Stewart said. "It is really about bringing people together and bringing neighborhoods together and there have been a million ideas on how we can do this, but for right now it is about bringing the citizens together so we can go and make a difference in our community."
The initial goal was to have representatives responsible for organizing their respective neighborhoods. Beyond creating civic engagement with residents, Stewart said this group could be a way to connect volunteers to help organizations and nonprofits in the community.
"Everything is so digital now and everybody is on social media now and the way we are getting information is so different," Stewart said. "You have to keep bending and changing and keep changing how you do things."
Residents can connect to the group on Facebook via Farmington Neighborhood Outreach or email Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The mission of the group goes beyond addressing concerns over taxes and transparency of government, Stewart said. The group's mission will be to address residents' concerns and meet families' needs.
"We want to start spending time together as a community because it is so easy to hide behind your phones," Stewart said. "... We want to be engaged and let Farmington continue to be that wonderful place it has and will continue to be."