Meet Nancy Darga, lifetime polio survivor, member of the Livonia Rotary AM Club, serving 12 years on the Northville City Council.
This back story on Nancy Darga, a member of the Rotary AM Club who last year shared her story with the club on the eve of the annual Community dinner in support of polio awareness, was printed on the City of Northville website and Musings is sharing with minor edits:
Once you meet Nancy Darga, you are not likely to forget her. She says what’s on her mind and asks probing questions when considering a matter before City Council, a role she served in for 12 years before choosing not to run in 2019. Her approach to problem-solving includes a deep dive into details and talking to people – on both sides of an issue.
She has taken on tough challenges to keep Northville unique, historic, and well-run as a City government during her years on the City Council and 20 years serving the Parks and Recreation Department in advisory capacities, primarily as a board member.
She’s got a good grasp on matters pertaining to infrastructure – roads, sewage, and storm sewers – due to a long career as a licensed landscape architect in the Wayne County Parks Dept. and the (former) Wayne County Road Commission.
She was amazed that she won her first election to the City Council as a newcomer. She attributes that to having been actively involved in the community – something that people value and remember.
She is proud of many things accomplished while in office. When she first arrived at Council, she asked for more details about the bidding process in engineering contracts. She recommended creating a matrix that showed cost comparisons and quality features among the bidders. That made the contracts more transparent to the Council and citizens, and enhanced decisions regarding infrastructure improvements.
Her heart beats in harmony with Northville yet she has also spread that energy and determination to matters that affect other organizations.
She retired as executive director of the Ford Piquette Historic Plant and has become more active in the “Save Hines Park” initiative to prevent the sale of parkland to developers.
One of the biggest challenges facing the City today, she notes, is redevelopment of the Northville Downs property. “Property owners have all the rights in America,” Darga said. “When City officials deal with them, we’re trying to create a win-win solution. The best thing is to serve the community at large. The only way to control that is through the Master Plan and zoning. One of the things that we want is to open up the river and create some greenspace. We will have to work hard to come up with a development agreement that offers something to both sides.”
Darga is a strong supporter of the Historic District, noting that it “protects and enhances the taproots of the community.” She believes that despite the inevitable development, it’s vital to keep the context of Northville.
“If any tree is going to bear fruit, you have to protect its roots. It’s the same with communities. You need to protect your heritage,” she said.
Figuring things out is Darga’s strong suit. “I’ve always been interested in ‘How did it get to this point?’ I like to build things. I like to know how things come together.”
She is a firm believer in getting people together to discuss issues. Her method at Council meetings was to share information during “Council Communications” and invite citizens to participate in meetings, events, and even rallies for a cause. “Bringing people together and encouraging them to talk about things keeps a community strong,” she said.
Among her prodigious community involvement, she is a founding member of Friends of the Rouge and a founding member of Motor City National Heritage Area, which is part of the National Park System. She has been a board member of the Art House since its inception and will continue to serve on the board, this time as treasurer. The City-managed entity plans to become a 501 ( c ) 3 organization. Darga’s success as a fundraiser for various causes will boost the Art House’s efforts to establish an endowment.
She and her husband have two adult children, Anna and Alex.