Bob Homan Retires From Township and DDA
After serving for two decades in Plainfield Township government and on the Comstock Park Downtown Development Authority (DDA), Bob Homan is retiring. He has served as Township supervisor for four years, and superintendent (township manager) from 1996 to 2013. He said he has found his work “rewarding,” and noted he enjoyed being part of “significant improvements in downtown Comstock Park” made by the DDA since it was created in 1993.
“If you look at Comstock Park, what it was in the 90’s, and what it is now, Comstock Park is much improved,” said Homan. “To me, without the DDA, Comstock Park would be a shadow of what it is now.”
Homan said he feels especially good about being part of the DDA’s efforts to bring the White Pine Trailhead to the downtown area and his efforts in purchasing railroad property for the project. He noted that the Trail project as well as “a lot of things I’ve been involved with wasn’t just my effort. A lot of people were involved, it was a team effort.”
Homan credits the group of downtown business people for hiring a consulting company to help prepare the groundwork to establish the DDA and the Township Board for approving the plan.
“To me, the Board and business community did a great thing putting the DDA together in 1993, having the vision to make the investment,” he said naming improvements such as putting in the parking lot behind the downtown businesses next to the Trail, putting in streetlighting from downtown to Fifth Third Ballpark, maintaining and upgrading the parking lot next to Dwight Lydell Park as well as contributing to the Park’s improvements, putting in sidewalks on Lamoreaux Avenue, rebuilding the West River Drive streetscape from Four Mile Road to Lamoreaux Ave., building the Community Plaza at School Street and West River Drive, and purchasing the digital sign for community announcements at the Plaza as well as the digital sign at the Library.
The DDA is up for renewal in 2023, and Homan said he hopes the Township Board approves the renewal. Improvements made by the DDA in the downtown area have increased property values and attracted new businesses to the area, and “all of that has benefited residents, the business community, the schools, and the Township,” he said.
Homan, who is originally from Grand Rapids, has extensive experience in local government. After receiving a master’s degree in public administration, he began his career in government as assistant to the city manager of Grand Rapids in 1973. While he was with the city, Homan also worked in the Parks Department and on special assignment to the Fire Department. In 1976 he moved to the City of Miami FL where he worked as assistant to the city manager for three years. He was city manager of Franklin OH, which he said was “an old paper mill town” from 1979 to 1982, manager of Saginaw Township MI from 1982 to 1989, manager of Delhi Township (south of Lansing) where he presided over the building of a new township hall, library, and fire station from 1989 to 1996. That was all before coming to Plainfield Township in 1996. “I was very fortunate to have been chosen as the first superintendent of Plainfield Township and to have been an important part of this community’s development,” he said.
Homan graduated from Grand Rapids Christian High School and then attended Calvin College graduating with an economics major and minors in history and religion. He then served in the Army for two years before attended the University of Washington in Seattle to earn his master’s degree. Homan lives in Plainfield Township with his wife Karen. He has two daughters and a 14-year-old grandson.