The Fort Road Federation is led by a dedicated group of neighbors who volunteer their time and talents in support of the Federation's mission and goals. The Board is responsible for the governance, legal and fiduciary well-being of the district council. Members of the Board are elected each spring at the Federation's Annual Meeting, and by voting online.
Area Coordinators Area Coordinators are Board members who represent neighbors who live in one of three Areas, shown on the map above. Area Coordinators maintain contact with community members in their area and bring the issues (zoning, problem properties, crime and safety) and concerns of community members to the Federation Board meetings.
Find your Area Coordinators by clicking on the map above.
Area 1: The north side of St Clair St, Interstate 35E, Irvine Avenue, Kellogg Blvd, Eagle St, and the Mississippi River. Coordinators: Jessica Callahan, Casey Carmody, and Karen Voracek
Area 2: The south side of St Clair St, Interstate 35E, to the north side of Armstrong Ave, and the Mississippi River. Coordinators: Emma Pearl, Kelsey Peterson, and Steven Tacheny
Area 3: The south side of Armstrong Ave, Interstate 35E, West 7th St, Homer St, and the Mississippi River. Coordinators: Tanya Fabyanske Beck, Sara Fleetham, and Julia McColley
What makes the Federation mission meaningful to you? Why are you interested in being a Board member? Mission: “The Fort Road Federation coordinates participation in advocacy and planning, and builds community connections for the residents, businesses, and nonprofit organizations of the West 7th neighborhood so that it is a place where people want to live, work, and play.”
I am most interested in serving at a neighborhood level where the intersections of community organizations can support efforts such as affordable housing, green space, built environment, public safety and business development which contributes to neighborhood assets. I have values in racial equity and addressing social / political determinants of health to support residents from all background and invest in future generations while honoring our elders to live with dignity. I believe the Fort Road Federation provides the opportunity to advocate for such social justice efforts.
What do you see as the greatest opportunities for our community? I see our community as having an elevated voice and collective power to help influence and leverage resources from the City of Saint Paul and the business sector to be responsive to our unique needs as a community and to partner and organize with other residents on key issues they support the Fed Strategic Plan.
What do you see as the primary challenges for our community? Representation of the rich diversity in our community is a challenge for the Fed. Public safety and curbing violence is another challenge we are facing as a community in these very harsh economic times. Also, our collective mental health has been strained. It is also a challenge to engage with residents who are working and trying to make ends meet; folks have been pushed the brinks through this pandemic and we are in very turbulent geo-political times, which hits us on the local level too.
What skills or strengths would you bring to the Federation's Board of Directors? Some of my strengths include: Strategic, Big PicturE, and Systems Thinking. Visionary. Bold and Authentic Leadership. Creative and Multidisciplinary problem solver. Family Oriented. Racial and Social Justice Oriented - Historical Perspective to Disparities. Attention to details and nuance. Logic Models and Asset Mapping. Diplomatic Truth Teller. Bridge Builder & Translational Sciences. Social Services Practitioner - Administration skills. Organizational Development.
What is your connection to the West 7th neighborhood? I live in the neighborhood, I’m raising my family here, and I am committed the wellness and prosperity of our community.
2nd Vice President
Bill McMahon What makes the Federation mission meaningful to you? Why are you interested in being a Board member?I am passionate about discovering new ways to build community. I believe working on the Board would enable me to work with others interested in finding ways of making new connections that foster the development of community; whether by helping neighbors make new connections with one another or working on longer term projects that address specific issues facing our community.
What do you see as the greatest opportunities for our community? The West Seventh community has experienced many positive changes in recent years. We have many new residents and businesses. We have become home to a vibrant arts community, and, become a regional arts and cultural destination. We have a strong non-profit sector, including a thriving sober community. I think it is very important to find creative ways to build on this momentum. There is tremendous opportunity to leverage the talents and energy of our residents and businesses and address the wide variety of challenges we face.
What do you see as the primary challenges for our community? The challenges facing our community are many and include a range of issues, including promoting business development while at the same time working on addressing the housing, mental health, and other needs of our most vulnerable residents. Effective communication is key. We must keep our communication constant, open, and respectful if we want to meet the challenges ahead.
What skills or strengths would you bring to the Federation's Board of Directors? I have experience in a variety of settings including public service, nonprofit management, higher education, and the private sector. I worked as a City Planner for the City of Minneapolis, working on a range of land use, public safety, economic development, transportation, park improvements, and other issues. I have served on the board of the Center for Neighborhoods at the University of Minnesota and on the board of the Campaign for Human Development, affiliated with the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul. I managed workforce development programs for HIRED, a North Minneapolis based non-profit.
I have worked on workforce development programs in low-income communities across the U.S. while working with the Enterprise Community Partners, a national community development foundation. I currently work for the State of Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. I have extensive experience in grant writing and assisting organizations with grant development.
While I have a range of experience working with larger institutions, I have found I have been most successful over the years working directly with members of the community. I look forward to working with the Federation and the greater community.
What is your connection to the West 7th neighborhood? I moved to the West 7th neighborhood after graduating from college in Wisconsin years ago. Decades later I returned to live in the neighborhood last May when my wife and I moved to the Irvine Park/Smith Avenue neighborhood. We absolutely love living here and look forward to meeting everyone!
What makes the Federation mission meaningful to you? Why are you interested in being a Board member? I believe in the mission of the Federation. I would like to see our community grow closer together. I would also like to see our planning and advocacy carry a more anti-racist approach. I want to find a way to give back to my community. In Michelle Obama's memoir, Becoming, she speaks about her father's role as a precinct captain, and how meaningful that experience was to their family. I certainly never want Mayor Carter's job, but this I can do.
What do you see as the greatest opportunities for our community? We are a vibrant, growing, and dare I say, trendy community. With almost 50% of residents new to the neighborhood within the last 10 years, I see lots of ways for us to rethink and grow community. With new transit, housing, and environmental issues emerging, I see our community driving the future for the whole city. Our neighborhood is so unique and different. From all the bars and microbreweries to sober housing and places for recovery. We are becoming an arts and culture powerhouse too.
What do you see as the primary challenges for our community? Our neighborhood and city face many challenges. From affordable housing to zoning, there is a lot of work to be done to build the best St Paul. I think our neighborhood is often overlooked. From where the Randolph resurfacing stops, to the smallest and least open library, we need to advocate for the West Seventh Neighborhood.
What skills or strengths would you bring to the Federation's Board of Directors? I am a librarian by training, and a professor at St Catherine University. My work experience has been in leading organizations, education, strategic planning, marketing, technology, fundraising, outreach, and community engagement. I move easily between detailed-oriented spreadsheets, and big picture thinking. I have served on a variety of boards in my professional life.
What is your connection to the West 7th neighborhood? I have lived in the neighborhood since 2015. I attend church, eat, shop, and walk all over the neighborhood. My neighbor lived in this neighborhood until she passed away at age 104. I plan on doing the same.
Area 1 Coordinators
Casey Carmody (renter)
What makes the Federation mission meaningful to you? Why are you interested in being a Board member? The Federation’s mission to advocate and build our local community has significant value to me. Both as a resident and now as a Fort Road Federation Board member, I continue to appreciate the ways our local neighborhood grows and diversifies. I feel fortunate that I’ve been a member of an organization that is instrumental to West Seventh’s growth and strategic direction. It’s my hope to continue to serve on the Board so that I can keep working on several issues that will help build a stronger community in the West Seventh area, and I’m confident that I still have many ideas to offer to the best neighborhood in Saint Paul.
What do you see as the greatest opportunities for our community? The greatest opportunity for West Seventh is the fact that people view our neighborhood as a desirable place to work, play, and live. Despite the challenges of the past year, West Seventh is still welcoming new residents, businesses, and organizations, and these changes continue to create a dynamic and exciting neighborhood. Building a neighborhood like ours doesn’t happen by accident, and I think we need to continue to be open to different ways to attract new, vibrant, and diverse neighbors to the area.
What do you see as the primary challenges for our community? The fact that West Seventh is such a desirable place has also created several challenges. We are seeing rapid changes to the neighborhood, and I think there are concerns that we risk losing a sense of a strong, connected neighborhood. However, I don’t think the correct solution is to become insular and resistant to new members joining our community. Rather, we must work hard to find a fair balance for everyone in our community that respects where our neighborhood has been and acknowledges where it is going. We need to integrate new members into our community, share its rich history with them, and solicit their ideas about what type of community they would like to create with us.
What skills or strengths would you bring to the Federation’s Board of Directors? My educational and professional backgrounds involve communications and complex policy work. I believe I’ve put these skills to good use as a Board member working on transportation and land use issues as well as contributing to the long-term district plan team's work. I’ve used my listening, speaking, and negotiating skills while working with Board members and neighbors within the West Seventh community. I’m always willing to work with and listen to others, even those whom I may disagree with, to find solutions to complicated issues. I’ve stepped into leadership roles during the past year on the Board, and I’ve been willing to take on any tasks to help move the Board closer toward its goals.
What is your connection to the West 7th neighborhood? I’ve lived in the West Seventh neighborhood as a renter off and on for a total of nine years since 2008, and I’ve been a Board member for the past year. I’ve been watching the exciting developments and additions in the neighborhood for more than a decade, and I’ve appreciated the opportunity to help guide some of the more recent changes. You can often find me walking along West Seventh and throughout the neighborhood, and I regularly visit many of the businesses in our community (at least as much as possible during a pandemic). I’ve found it rewarding to serve the West Seventh neighborhood, and I would like to continue that service as a member of the Federation’s Board of Directors.
Meg Duhr What makes the Federation mission meaningful to you? Why are you interested in being a Board member? West 7th is my favorite neighborhood in my favorite city in the world and I see being a Board member as an opportunity to deepen my connection to this community and give back. I’ve always followed local politics and in recent years have been tuning in much more closely to city and county-level decisions that impact our neighborhood. St. Paul’s district councils provide a wonderful entry point for residents to get involved with city governance and I am ready to step up and lend my voice in a more meaningful way to interface with local officials and share neighborhood concerns and priorities.
What do you see as the greatest opportunities for our community? I think one of our greatest opportunities is that more people are recognizing what a great corner of St. Paul our area is to live, work, or start a business in and we are attracting new people to the neighborhood and new developments, venues, and restaurants that add to the vibrancy of West 7th. Part of what makes our neighborhood so desirable is that we have had more success resisting gentrification and maintaining diverse housing stock, with more affordable options, than other parts of St. Paul. Maintaining this will require continued advocacy from the Federation, particularly as the Riverview Corridor project takes shape, because while the prospect of restoring street cars to West 7th is very exciting, we will need to ensure that our local businesses have the support they need during construction and that our neighborhood character is maintained.
What do you see as the primary challenges for our community? 1. Diversity in housing stock and by extension, our community diversity, is part of what makes West 7th vibrant, but renting or owning a home in our neighborhood is becoming increasingly out of reach for economically and racially diverse people.
2. The city’s management approach to invasive emerald ash borers and neglect of the non-ash trees in recent years has taken a heavy toll on the livability, enjoyment, and climate resilience of our neighborhood.
3. I think there are major conflicts between our goals for a safe and vibrant neighborhood centered around the West 7th corridor and MnDOT’s management of our street as a state highway (with two lanes each way and a turn lane through much of it).
What skills or strengths would you bring to the Federation's Board of Directors? My professional background of the last twelve years has been focused on ecological restoration and science communications in public sector agencies and in my current job at the U of M, I work with local government managers and community leaders to ensure that our research advances in aquatic invasive species are accessible and implementable in their work areas. I spend a lot of time listening to their challenges, questions, and concerns about invasive species and then work with our scientists to ensure their work is responsive to these stakeholder’s needs. Active, empathetic listening and open, transparent communications are some of the skills I use daily, and I would apply this to my work as a Board member to connect with people at the grassroots level and then communicate their concerns and priorities to decision makers.
What is your connection to the West 7th neighborhood? I have lived in this neighborhood (off-and-on) as a renter and a property owner since 2004. My wife and I now own a home near West 7th and St. Clair and have lived there full-time since January 2020. On just about a daily basis, you can find me walking on West 7th, getting groceries at Cooper’s, or coming home from the library at the West 7th Community Center.
What makes the Federation mission meaningful to you? Why are you interested in being a Board member? As someone who moved to St. Paul almost 15 years ago, I have seen the wonderful growth that has come in our community - and the challenges that come with it. I'd love to be part of the on-going discussion how we can continue building our community and supporting businesses while balancing the safety and vitality of our neighborhoods.
What do you see as the greatest opportunities for our community? The greatest opportunity for our community is the continued economic development. With the Xcel Center as a destination for St. Paul, many of our businesses and neighborhoods have become gathering spaces, along with the concerns that come with it. How can we continue to welcome these visitors and protect what we cherish in our community.
What do you see as the primary challenges for our community? Building off our opportunities, our challenge is maintaining a balance of the growth and diversity of our community and maintaining the health & safety of the residents and visitors. Finding a path that allows for proper zoning and sustained, healthy development will be important as we continue to expand.
What skills or strengths would you bring to the Federation's Board of Directors? I have a heart for St. Paul and our community. I want it to be a welcoming and diverse community, and I want to help balance the realities that come with growth. As both a resident and former downtown employee, I bring a broad perspective to the needs and opportunities for our neighborhoods.
What is your connection to the West 7th neighborhood? I have lived down in the Upper Landing community for close to 15 years. This community is "newer" to Fort Road and a vibrant area with our dog park and Upper Landing park. My hope is to bring this community closer into the broader Fort Road community.
Area 2 Coordinators
Kelsey Peterson (renter)
What makes the Federation mission meaningful to you? Why are you interested in being a Board member? The words: a place where people want to live work and play resonates with me. West 7th is a working class, working, living very I’ve and unique place. I am drawn to being on the board to offer my insights about my aspect of the community and to continue to help build the connections between small business, neighbors, the natural world, and the people that inhabit this area!
What do you see as the greatest opportunities for our community? Greater involvement of young people, LGBTQ people and POC. We have a lot of people living in our community that don’t have a lot of representation, including our substantial homeless community, West 7th as a community is privileged in being a representative for so many groups and it would be great to see those groups participating in more community events in spaces that are accessible to those people.
What do you see as the primary challenges for our community? Lack of representation and lack of resources for lower income and young people in the area. We are also in a time of a lot of isolation for people. Many people young and old are starving for community.
What skills or strengths would you bring to the Federation's Board of Directors? I am a young person, in my 30s, and a renter at Schmidt which provides me with a diverse view of our population. I am a trained actor and feel comfortable in public speaking and activism positions. I grew up in this neighborhood so have seen how the neighborhood has changed and feel a duty to serve the community.
What is your connection to the West 7th neighborhood? I grew up in Irvine Park right off West 7th. I spent much of my childhood biking along west 7th, playing at Palace playground, getting groceries at Mississippi Market and Coopers and spending a lot of time near the river. I now live in Schmidt Artist Lofts and I am getting reacquainted with this aspect of the community.
What makes the Federation mission meaningful to you? Why are you interested in being a Board member? The Federation's mission involves building community connections, and that is one of the greatest things I strive for in my everyday life. I would like to be a part of this Board to help bring the West 7th community together in a way that is meaningful to everyone - residents, businesses and visitors.
What do you see as the greatest opportunities for our community? I have met a variety of community members in the West 7th neighborhood: my neighbors who have been in the same home for 35 years, new families who have just found their first house, and families from different cultures and backgrounds. With that great variety of experiences comes a great opportunity to create a community culture that is sustainable for future generations.
What do you see as the primary challenges for our community? Change is hard for any community, and West 7th is no exception. There are new businesses starting up, new families moving in, new homes being built, and all during a time when there is a lot of uncertainty due to the pandemic. The greatest challenge will be to navigate these changes as a community to ensure West 7th remains a place where people want to live, work, and visit.
What skills or strengths would you bring to the Federation's Board of Directors? In my day job, I work as a housing programs manager for the state of Minnesota. I have worked in the housing industry for 15 years and I bring a lot of knowledge surrounding community development and fair housing. I also do a lot of work surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and would foster these elements throughout any work involved with the Federation's Board.
What is your connection to the West 7th neighborhood? I bought a small home in West 7th five years ago and fell in love with the neighborhood and the community. I sold that home, and purchased another house two blocks down the street when my partner and I needed more space to combine our households! We moved into our upgraded West 7th home with our three boys earlier in 2021 and plan to stay in the neighborhood for many years to come.
What makes the Federation mission meaningful to you? Why are you interested in being a Board member? I appreciate the mission statement is clear, plain language: make w7th a place to live, work and play. I feel I have a chance to share my perspective as a 20 year resident. I already have invested time with the city on several issues, most recently working with Noecker on streetcar input. What do you see as the greatest opportunities for our community? Maintaining what we have, if we can. Building upon open spaces for urban farming, maintaining and protecting the businesses on West 7th who will be affected by the streetcar, preserving our neighborhood health.
What do you see as the primary challenges for our community? Streetcar. City budget not being able to provide safety, or amenities. Balancing affordable housing with density. Preserving, promoting small businesses especially those owned locally and already established. What skills or strengths would you bring to the Federation’s Board of Directors? I am also a farmer in Mankato and my partner/wife works with several urban gardens. I'm also a part of the Land Stewardship Project of MN. I have great connections with my neighbors and have contributed to/supported the Federation in the past. I have also participated and contributed to work with the Little Bohemia Neighborhood Association. I'm a high school teacher, so I've dealt with several issues regarding boards or committees, and individuals. What is your connection to the West 7th neighborhood? Nearly 20 year resident. Like I said, love my neighbors and community. Some history: my aunt was a School Sister of Notre Dame who lived at a convent at St. Stan's in the 80's. We would visit as a family. I remember riding my bike down Superior St. and running through the halls of the convent. So, coincidentally, I've a lot of connection. I also strongly patronize almost all the businesses on W 7th, from the drug store, guitar store, etc. My family performs music locally, including at Waldmann.
Area 3 Coordinators
What makes the Federation mission meaningful to you? Why are you interested in being a Board member? After almost a year on the board, I've reinforced my commitment to the neighborhood and making the board reflect the neighborhood and its interests. It wasn't enough time! There is much more to be done.
What do you see as the greatest opportunities for our community? I think we as a board need to figure that out by better engaging more of the community. We have honed in on a couple of things from feedback from neighbors, including affordable housing, transportation and green initiatives.
What do you see as the primary challenges for our community? There are a lot of underutilized assets and resources in this community- arts orgs, community centers, services, events and other ways to connect with each other. I think making sure that everyone knows about them and has an opportunity to connect in a meaningful way is important.
What skills or strengths would you bring to the Federation's Board of Directors? I've spent over ten years of my career making sure that folks have fair access to housing. I've learned to communicate across barriers. I am energized to engage folks to have a voice in the direction of the board and the neighborhood.
What is your connection to the West 7th neighborhood? I have lived in the neighborhood for over 15 years. I also work along W. 7th for a non-profit housing organization.
Sara Fleetham (renter)
What makes the Federation mission meaningful to you? Why are you interested in being a Board member? I appreciate a welcoming and vibrant community. I know that makes our district better. I am interested in serving my community and the Fed as a renter.
What do you see as the greatest opportunities for our community? We have opportunities to make more environmental impact - traffic, health and recycling.
What do you see as the primary challenges for our community? The biggest challenge right now is income disparity that is magnified during COVID-19. People are hurting. There is an undercurrent with some that renters are not important to community. What skills or strengths would you bring to the Federation's Board of Directors? I have leadership experience in nonprofits and campaigns. Currently I am a program manager with extensive volunteer direction capabilities. I am a renter who is more active as a renter than I ever was as an owner.
What is your connection to the West 7th neighborhood? I have lived on Scheffer Avenue for nearly 8 years. I was a condo owner downtown before that.
Julia McColley What makes the Federation mission meaningful to you? Why are you interested in being a Board member? Building community connections for all parties - residents, businesses, and non-profit organizations really speaks to me. I think the more connected a neighborhood is, the healthier it is. When people and businesses are connected there is increased opportunity for learning and growth. I am interested in investing in the W 7th community and continuing the work the Federation is doing to ensure the neighborhood is a place where people want to be. What do you see as the greatest opportunities for our community? W 7th has an incredible history and a unique charm - sometimes it even feels like a small town of its own within Saint Paul. It is home to many long time residents and is a desirable neighborhood for new residents. As the neighborhood continues to develop and change, there will be important opportunities and decisions to make regarding affordable housing, transportation, green initiatives, and community spaces. I’d love to see the community more involved in these decisions so we can continue to grow in a way that is progressive, relevant, and inclusive to our residents and businesses. What do you see as the primary challenges for our community? Our greatest opportunities and challenges really go hand in hand. As we continue to grow, our primary challenge will be navigating these changes and opportunities in a way that is representative of community needs while balancing W 7th roots. We need to promote growth and progression without gentrification. What skills or strengths would you bring to the Federation’s Board of Directors? First and foremost, I am a people person with a commitment to diversity and equity. I believe everyone deserves representation and has meaningful things to contribute to the conversation. What is your connection to the West 7th neighborhood? I began frequenting the W 7th area often almost 10 years ago when my friend lived here. I met my husband (a true west ender) at Shamrocks. We rented in the area for a few years and took the plunge in 2020 to officially purchase a home in area 3. We have strong roots here and I love the community. I am looking forward to continuing to build connections and live here for many years.