Jonathan Nieuwsma, chairing Tuesday night's Redistricting Committee meeting.

The council members on Evanston’s Redistricting Committee each unveiled a proposed new ward map Tuesday night but then decided to postpone opening them up for public comment.

The City Council has agreed to redraw the city’s ward boundaries in an effort to respond to clusters of population growth in the city that have thrown the city’s ward boundaries out of alignment with equal representation principles since the boundaries were last redrawn two decades ago.

Maps proposed by Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th) and Ald. Melissa Wynne (3rd) made only minimal changes to existing ward boundaries while seeking to equalize the population of each ward.

The map proposed by Ald. Melissa Wynne — with the proposed new ward boundaries indicated by colors and the existing ward boundaries outlined with thick black lines.
Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma”s map, which also indicates the location of each alderperson’s home — confirming that no incumbent would be redistricted into another ward.

Wynne’s map showed the smallest population deviation among wards, just 2.29%. Nieuwsma’s map showed slightly higher population deviation, 3.84%.

Court decisions have indicated that districts should have no more than a 10% population deviation, and the two other maps presented failed to meet that standard.

The map developed by Ald. Bobby Burns.
The map from Ald. Devon Reid.

The map developed by Ald. Bobby Burns (5th) showed a population deviation of 12.25%, while the map developed by Ald. Devon Reid (8th) had a deviation of 28.83%

Reid’s map also moved the south end of the current 3rd Ward into his 8th Ward. He said one of the majority-minority wards in the city should have a piece of the lakefront.

But that proposal drew strong opposition from Wynne and neither of the other committee members supported it.

All of the maps achieved the committee’s goal of having at least three wards with a majority of residents being from minority groups.

Map2nd Ward5th Ward8th Ward
The minority population of “majority-minority” wards under different proposed maps.

Rather than release the “finalist” maps for public comment immediately after the committee meeting as had originally been scheduled, Nieuwsma, the committee chair, recommended that the committee hold off on that step to make further revisions to the maps.

The committee voted to accept that recommendation and postpone that the public review process for the maps until the committee’s next meeting on March 28.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Council member Reid wanting a piece of the lakefront for his ward is a perfect example of how our current council/ward structure leads to “territorial-ism”, in fighting, and protectionism.

    Our progressive city council should benchmark with Oak Park and Naperville to understand how successful their progressive Council structure is.

  2. I wish the streets where there are changes suggested would be named so we can know if we are affected. I live at 2323 McDaniel Ave at Grant St, for instance, and it looks like I may be moved out of Tom Sufferdine’s 6th ward, my ward for 29 years. Can’t tell by these maps.

    1. Hi Gayle,
      None of the four maps shown move Three Crowns Park, at 2323 McDaniel Ave., out of the 6th Ward.
      The 6th Ward currently is only slightly above the population goal — exceeding the target by just 3.25%.
      It is also probably the most geographically compact ward in the city.
      So while it might have some small changes — as shown on a couple of the maps — it is relatively unlikely to have any major shifts.
      Since Three Crowns is on the boundary line, it might potentially be shifted into the 7th Ward, but none of the maps presented show that happening.
      — Bill

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