I have known Pat Fowler for many years, starting when we served together on the Downtown Columbia Leadership Council. Pat immediately impressed me with her depth of knowledge of city plans and ordinances; her familiarity with and respect for numerous city workers; and her experience working with a host of commissions, boards and organizations intended to improve lives for Columbia residents.

While serving on the DLC, Pat picked up one of the recommendations of the 2010 Charrette Report and spearheaded a well-attended and meaningful public information meeting regarding downtown access, circulation and parking.

This was at a time when housing for students with cars was expanding, and available parking spaces for downtown shoppers and business people were rapidly declining. To prepare for the session, Pat and I spent days walking the areas surrounding downtown, visiting with residents in adjacent neighborhoods about increased commuter parking on their streets and soliciting opinions on how to best manage the issue.

Many Columbia residents may also recall when Pat, on behalf of the Historic Preservation Commission, built a steering committee to organize and direct the salvage of thousands of pounds of reusable materials from the downtown James Apartments. Pat collaborated with the building’s new owner, who provided tools, meals and resources for the team of more than 65 volunteers to deconstruct and remove the building’s antique doors, windows, wood trim and paneling, ornate steam radiators and a host of other relics.

In all her collaborations, Pat is prepared, intentional and thoughtful about how to create good experiences for the participants and volunteers. I walked doors for Pat this past weekend because I believe she has worked hard to understand how local policy is made and can best translate that into action for the benefit of our city.

I am a resident of the First Ward, and I am honored to vote for Pat Fowler to represent me on the Columbia City Council.

Rosie Gerding is a retired CPA and lifelong Columbia resident.

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