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Redrawn Rochester City Council wards set for Monday vote

New boundaries seek to better balance populations within each of the city's six wards.

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A map of proposed new city ward boundaries will be reviewed by the Rochester City Council on March 21.
City of Rochester
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ROCHESTER — New ward boundaries for Rochester City Council members face review Monday.

The council will be presented with the final proposed draft of a new map intended to equalize populations in each of six city council wards.

The city is required to redraw ward boundaries following each U.S. Census to improve the overall population balance in each section of the city represented by an elected council member.

With a new ideal ward population of 20,230 residents, Rochester’s northeast ward – Ward 3 – saw the greatest growth between the 2010 and 2020 population counts. The number of residents in the ward grew by more than 4,000 people, or 24.7%.

Ward 1, the city’s southernmost ward, followed with a 24.15% population growth.

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Overall, the city’s population grew by 13.6%, which outpaced the rest of the state’s 7.6% growth between 2010 and 2020.

In an effort to balance the population of each ward, city staff redrew boundaries following federal, state and city guidelines, which limit some actions while also encouraging efforts to keep similar communities together within a ward.

Four initial drafts were created for public review, and a final version emerged following community feedback.

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The proposed map seeks to combine some neighborhood associations that have been split by ward boundaries, and it also addressed a desire by some community members to unite neighborhoods that had higher-than-average populations of non-white residents.

The changes create three wards with total populations greater than the ideal and three with fewer residents than the ideal.

During community discussions centered on early proposed maps, Rochester Management Analyst Heather J. Heyer said wards 3 and 6 are considered as having the greatest potential to see population growth in the next 10 years. In the proposed map, they would have the smallest populations.

The proposed population (along with percent deviation from ideal) for each ward is:

  • Ward 1 – 20,783 (2.72%)
  • Ward 2 – 20,576 (1.7%)
  • Ward 3 – 19,586 (-3.2%)
  • Ward 4 – 20,389 (0.77%)
  • Ward 5 – 20,056 (-0.87%)
  • Ward 6 – 20,008 (-1.11%)

The City Council is expected to vote on the proposed map during its meeting at 7 p.m. Monday in council chambers of the city-county Government Center, 151 Fourth St. SE.
The meeting marks the return of in-person meetings for all elected officials, while continuing to offer online access for some meetings.

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In addition to attending the council meeting in-person, residents can access it through a livestream video at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas , as well as Spectrum cable channel 180 or 188 and Metronet channel 80.



Upcoming meetings

Meetings scheduled to be held during the week of March 21 include:

Rochester 

• City Council study session, 3:30 p.m. Monday in council chambers of the city-county Government Center, 151 Fourth St. SE. The meeting will livestream at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas and be available on Spectrum cable channel 180 or 188 and Metronet channel 80.

• City Council, 7 p.m. Monday in council chambers of the city-county Government Center, 151 Fourth St. SE. The meeting will livestream at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas and be available on Spectrum cable channel 180 or 188 and Metronet channel 80.

• Public Utility Board, 4 p.m. Tuesday in the Rochester Public Utilities community room, 4000 East River Road NE

• Heritage Preservation Commission, 5 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers of the Government Center.

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• Planning and Zoning Commission, 6 p.m. Wednesday in council chambers of the Government Center.

• City Council special meeting, 11 a.m. Thursday in council chambers of the city-county Government Center.

Olmsted County

• Rochester-Olmsted Council of Governments, noon Wednesday in conference room A at 2122 Campus Drive SE. Online access is also available with information posted at https://olmstedcounty.primegov.com/public/portal

Rochester Public Schools

• School Board, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the boardroom of the Edison Building, 615 Seventh St. SW.

Randy Petersen joined the Post Bulletin in 2014 and became the local government reporter in 2017. An Elkton native, he's worked for a variety of Midwest papers as reporter, photographer and editor since graduating from Winona State University in 1996. Readers can reach Randy at 507-285-7709 or rpetersen@postbulletin.com.
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