Council OKs new ward map
Final plan affects fewest voters
By Jeffrey Pieters
Nearly 12,000 Rochester residents are in new city wards under a redistricting plan the City Council approved Monday.
The council voted 7-0 to approve the ward map, one of five maps given them to choose from.
The adopted map shifts the fewest number of people from one ward to another, according to city planners. Several other plans would have shifted ward boundaries past the homes of more than 20,000 people.
Each ward is intended to have about 14,500 residents.
Map-makers also tried to ensure that minorities were evenly represented between wards and to keep from splitting neighborhoods, said Planning Director Phil Wheeler. On those terms, the adopted plan was comparable to the others, he said. Ten neighborhoods are split between two or more wards.
Areas of Rochester with new city council representation include:
Several southwest neighborhoods south of Salem Road and west of 18th Avenue, which were added to the 1st Ward, represented by Dennis Hanson;
Soldiers Field, Silver Lake Park and a southeast neighborhood centering on Lincoln at Mann Elementary, added to the 4th Ward, represented by Walter Stobaugh;
A strip of land between the Zumbro River and North Broadway, from the river crossing to the northern boundary, added to Mack Evans' 5th Ward;
Some frontage road area on the east side of U.S. 52 North, from 22nd Street to 42nd Street, added to the Sixth Ward, represented by David Senjem;
The Kutzky Park/Cooke Park area is split by a jumble of lines with representation split between the 2nd Ward's Marcia Marcoux and the 3rd Ward's Jean McConnell. Evans' and Stobaugh's wards also touch near the area.
Despite the many changes, council members seemed pleased with the plan because it changed the status quo least.
Planners' next task is to draw a map of precincts, which the county board will use to determine its new district boundaries. The county's deadline is mid-June.
Planners also will determine voting sites for each city precinct.