Red Wing must shift district linesThe city of Red Wing has less than a month to adopt its new district lines, and staff recently released a number of options.
By: Danielle Killey, The Republican Eagle
The city of Red Wing has less than a month to adopt its new district lines, and staff recently released a number of options.
Online and at a public open house this week, the city released three possible scenarios for ward changes. Each also has an option to keep three precincts or reduce to two.
The state has an April 3 deadline for local redistricting changes. To meet the deadline, the City Council will hold a public hearing at its March 12 meeting on the maps before introducing a redistricting ordinance, and council will provide another public comment period before taking final action at the March 26 meeting, staff said.
Written comments also will be accepted before the March 12 meeting.
Redistricting often happens after a census, since districts need to have roughly the same amount of people. In Red Wing, the charter states that redistricting also is necessary when the largest ward’s population is higher than the smallest ward’s by more than 10 percent.
According to the 2010 census, Ward 1 — the far west part of Red Wing — was the largest. It exceeded Ward 4 — the east section of town — by nearly 17 percent.
“The most growth is in the west part of town,” Planning director Brian Peterson said, adding that trend likely will continue.
Each ward needs to have around 4,115 people, Peterson said. To remedy population shifts, Wards 1 and 3 need to lose people, while the 2nd and 4th Wards need more. Three scenarios have been developed, according to staff reports.
• Scenario 1 adds people to Ward 2 — most of western downtown up to Pioneer Road — by absorbing an eastern portion of Ward 1 over to Bench Street.
It also takes about 300 people from northeastern Ward 3 — which encompasses the portion of town from Ninth Street and East Avenue up past Eunice Avenue — and adds them to Ward 4.
• Scenario 2 shifts a smaller portion of Ward 1 to Ward 2: the neighborhood surrounded by West Seventh and Harrison streets and Grandview Avenue.
It also adds the area from East Avenue up to Grace Street to Ward 3.
• Scenario 3 makes roughly the same changes to the western part of Ward 2 as the first option, but puts more of west downtown Red Wing and slightly less of eastern Ward 3 into Ward 4.
Boundary lines could continue to change as the city gets more input and the council discusses the options, Peterson said.
The third option has the most impact generally and on the county, he said, because it would shift commissioners’ districts as well. Commissioner District 1 and 5 represent Red Wing.
Each scenario also includes precinct options, either staying with three precincts per ward or reducing to two.
Cutting down on the number of precincts could make it easier for voters to find their polling places, Peterson said. Right now, some polls aren’t even in the correct precinct, which can be confusing, he added.
More information, including maps of the proposed changes, is available at the city’s website, red-wing.org.