Freeport redistricting it’s perimeters

Major declines in district areas have forced city council members to find a more balanced approach.
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 6:38 PM CDT
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FREEPORT, Ill. (WIFR) - As Americans shift their home bases for various reasons: schools, economic opportunities and less crime. More cities like Freeport across the U.S. must deal with population changes within their borders.

“A lot of people that grew up here are used to being in one ward over another,” said Randy Bukas, Freeport city manager.

The 2020 Census showed a population drop of 1,655 individuals in the pretzel city. On Tuesday, city leaders held an open house so community members could ask how this will impact their representation on the city council.

“You may see a little shift in their ward boundaries but just showing them how we need to make sure everything is balanced and everybody has fair representation,” said Bukas.

Wards two, three, and five experienced the most changes, prompting the need for these adjustments. Leaders say the goal is to preserve neighborhoods and make the lines easy to understand. Each ward’s average population should total 3,425 residents.

“A lot of people don’t realize the ward they live in let alone how they may want to see it change but we did produce some maps that they can draw on if they did want to come up with their own ward boundaries,” he said.

Freeports is not alone- Rockford is also adjusting boundaries after three wards on the West side had a significant drop in population; Ward 5 lost 1,800 residents, Ward 7 lost 1,200 residents and Ward 13 lost 2,100 residents.

Leaders say the goal is to bring the west side lines more toward downtown with the hope to bring the average to 11,043 residents.

“Our city council wanted to make sure they’re preserving neighborhoods as possible so they’re not splitting neighbors hood. We wanted to make the lines as easy to understand. Straight lines as opposed to squiggly,” said Nicholas Meyer, City of Rockford’s legal director.

Meyer does want the public to know that Alderman’s will not change, until the 2025 election when they could look at other options.

Freeport’s public comments on the redistricting map will be open until Sept. 13, while Rockford’s is open until Sept. 2.

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