In the last 10 years, Fitchburg has experienced double digit growth as young professionals, families with children and seniors have moved to our city.

My fiance and I were a part of this growth when we moved to the Quarry Hill neighborhood in 2017. We moved here in search of lower housing and living costs, but we’ve stayed because of the abundant city parks, businesses within walking distance of our home and quiet residential neighborhoods just a short drive from downtown Madison.

Many other young professionals, families and seniors that have made a similar move and enjoy Fitchburg for the same reasons we do. However, when talking about the future – a first house, raising children or a fulfilling retirement, Fitchburg’s place in that vision isn’t always secure.

In my mind, this is Fitchburg’s ultimate test – our biggest challenge and opportunity. Can we accommodate these new residents with new housing, business growth, and community services to ensure they call Fitchburg home for years to come? Can we accomplish this without disturbing the close-knit neighborhoods and residents who have lived in Fitchburg for decades?

I’m applying for City Council because I believe we can do both. I believe we can build on Fitchburg’s strengths of diverse communities, jobs and people to create a city that young folks, families, and seniors want to move to and more importantly, stay.

We do this by being welcoming of newcomers, whether they rent or own, working to attract new businesses and continuing to build community through green places and community resources – like our library.

This can be done without disrupting Fitchburg’s original neighborhoods and by including residents into the conversation who have called Fitchburg home for decades. It’s important to me and should be important for the council to be transparent about upcoming proposals, collaborate with neighborhood leaders and advocates and listen to the voices of residents who reside in communities affected by growth and building projects.

I believe it’s important to bring residents into the process who historically have not been engaged. This includes renters, people of color and new home buyers. Including their ideas, voices and perspectives is key to achieving the goal of an inclusive and welcoming community.

We can only meet Fitchburg’s challenges by working together, and I’m ready to do my part.

Sam Voorhees

City of Fitchburg