Welcome to Heart of the City

Heart of the City (HOC) is a 501(c)3 non-profit community service group (think “Friends of Fort Atkinson”) which encourages sustainable development, the preservation of existing and treasured civic characteristics, and active participation of the citizenry.  It is devoted to increasing sustainability in our homes and communities through education, volunteer efforts, and engagement with neighbors and civic leaders.  

Please note that our calendar includes not just our events, but events in the region related to our mission.

MIDWEST RENEWABLE ENERGY FAIR Presentation Saturday June 22 4 pm

(The Energy Fair is the nation’s longest-running event of its kind and brings over 10,000 attendees together to learn about sustainability and clean energy, connect with others, and take action toward a sustainable future.) At this workshop, Group Solar Buy Program local organizers, including our Frankie Fuller, share their stories and successes to inspire other communities to offer such programs in their areas.

SAVE THE DATE- Join us for our 20th Anniversary Celebration to be held Saturday June 29 from 10:30 am to 1 pm at the Soulful Toad, 88 S. Main St.  Refreshments and convivial Hearts will be on hand.

MEMBER MEETING-all are welcome to attend:  Sunday June 30 at 9 a.m. at the Cafe Carpe 18 S. Water St. W.  E-mail heartoffort@gmail.com if you want to learn the agenda.


The city of Fort Atkinson has redone its master plan and will soon be updating its zoning ordinances. After the public Kickoff Meeting with the City Council and Plan Commission on March 13, 2019, other Open Houses are planned to gather input throughout the process. The update of the City of Fort Atkinson Comprehensive Plan recommended that the City rewrite and adopt a new Zoning Ordinance. Many of the development standards in the City’s current Ordinance do not reflect modern development and land use practices. The new Ordinance will consider new zoning districts and updated regulations for mixed use development, landscaping, lighting, building materials, and nonconforming situations.

The general timeline is as follows:

• Winter 2019: Identify issues and analyze existing Zoning Ordinance
• Spring/Summer 2019: Prepare Draft Zoning Ordinance and review with Plan Commission
• Fall/Winter 2019: Prepare Draft Zoning Map and review with Plan Commission
• Spring 2020: Adopt Zoning Ordinance and Map

After the Kickoff Meeting on March 13, a project-specific working group will be formed. The group will work in concert with Vandewalle & Associates to guide the project through each phase. Regular updates will be given to the Plan Commission and City Council throughout the process and each of those meetings will be open to the public. Final adoption of the new Zoning Ordinance and Official Zoning Map will take place at a Public Hearing before the City Council.

There are several ways to stay involved with the process, whether through reviewing draft documents, participating in meetings, or providing feedback. See the City’s website or Facebook page for updated documents and a schedule of events, or contact City Manager Matt Trebatoski at mtrebatoski@fortatkinsonwi.net or 920-563-7760 for additional information. You may also join the project’s email distribution list to receive project updates by emailing Ben Rohr of Vandewalle & Associates at brohr@vandewalle.com.

Here is an interesting Strong Towns article pointing out the importance of zoning and land use decisions-  The Invisible Hand that Designed Your City. Give your input in this process.

JEFFERSON COUNTY COMPREHENSIVE PLANS Jefferson County is also redoing its comprehensive plan, and is also seeking citizen input.

Our Facebook page will post updates about these and many other things, so be sure to like it. 

Fort Farmers Market-  a great place to support the local economy and healthy foods while enjoying community and music. The Market runs Saturday mornings from 8 to noon from May through October in the parking lot across from the post office, and on the first Saturday of January through April from 9 to noon at the lower level of the Fort Atkinson Club.  Support local food.

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The urban forestry workshop and film series are now past, but the need for a healthy urban forest and a response to the emerald ash borer remain. Information on dealing with the emerald ash borer is available at the city website.

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