Fort Road Federation looks ahead, celebrates 50 years

by Casey Ek and Damian Goebel

The Fort Road Federation’s leadership honored the past while looking ahead at the annual Federation meeting, which marked the district council’s 50th year of operation.    

Constituents, who packed into Summit Brewing April 25, had a chance to reflect on the body’s storied history with community engagement. In her acceptance speech for the Community Service Award, local community advocate, who as a lawyer played a pivotal role in keeping an ethanol plant out of what are now the Schmidt Artist Lofts,  Diane Gerth said the West 7th community isn’t known for letting things happen to them.
“We haven’t been real polite at city hall sometimes, but I think that’s the kind of good trouble we need to keep pushing,” she said to applause. 
Gerth also accepted a Community Service Award on behalf of Jerry Rothstein, a former editor for the Community Reporter and longtime community voice. 
Looking ahead
“West 7th is poised for a renaissance,” Gerth said, noting a resurgence of community organizing amid wide-sweeping city challenges.
This renaissance is reflected among the issues the federation is planning to tackle, including a focus on housing challenges across the district, the future of the Justus Ramsey House and refining the district plan, a guiding document for the Federation for the next 10 years. 
Outgoing Federation President Karen Voracek told the crowd that the district plan is well underway, but “we’re still seeking feedback,” with a draft expected to be submitted by mid-June to city staff. 
Board elections
The Federation community also elected a slate of new leaders, offering complementary views on how to continue their work. Meg Duhr, who previously served as an Area 1 coordinator and on the transportation and land use committee, was elected the incoming president of the Federation. She said that she was excited to work on the “great things and not so great things going on in our neighborhood.”
Incoming Area 1 Coordinator Paul Hardt echoed the sentiments of Gerth. “I want to establish a political committee that would have some actual influence at city hall,” he said. 
In their nomination speeches, each of the candidates expressed their passion for combining their expertise and their desire to give back to their community. “I have the wonderful gift of energy and time,” said Maggie Rock, newly elected Area 2 Coordinator. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to make a difference.
Fort Road Federation’s newly elected officers
President: Meg Duhr, First Vice President: Maria Sarabia, Secretary: Ruthanne Atkinson and Treasurer: Andrew Greenlee.
For a full list of the Fort Road Federation Board visit fortroadfederation.org/board-of-directors-and-staff

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