Evanston’s City Council voted Monday to take up the scissors and consider redrawing the city’s ward boundary lines.
The last city redistricting was conducted after the 2000 Census. The Council decided the 2010 Census didn’t show enough change in the city’s population to justify redistricting then.
But since 2000 the city’s population has increased from 74,239 to 78,110 — with most of the increase coming from new construction concentrated downtown and along the Chicago Avenue corridor. The city’s population has also become more racially and ethnically diverse.
Ald. Melissa Wynne (3rd) the only current alder who was on the Council in 2010 said, “Last time there were 15 maps” proposed before one finally was approved.
“I think that if we could come up with a better strategy and process” this time to not have to go through so many versions, that would be better, Wynne added. “It was very confusing, but we made our way through it.”
She suggested that the initial committee should consist just of council members, who could determine best practices and come back to the Rules Committee with a process and timeline for a larger panel of citizens and council members that would actually prepare the new map.
Ald. Bobby Burns (5th) said that as a political advocate he’d done a lot of research on redistricting and spoke at a state legislative redistricting hearing at the request of Rep. Robyn Gabel. “We worked hard to get all of the 5th Ward into the same state representative district,” Burns said. “I would love to volunteer” for the city redistricting committee, he added.
Also volunteering to serve on the committee were Ald. Devon Reid (8th), who had initially raised the redistricting proposal, Wynne and Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th), who was named chair.