Public Comment on Redistricting Wraps Up This Week

by Devin Katayama on October 3, 2011

The Louisville Metro Council is holding six public regional redistricting meetings this week to address the process of redrawing district lines. The ad hoc Committee on Redistricting’s goal has already been delayed and several council members may be just as eager as residents to see a final map of all 26 districts.

As the panel prepares to send an ordinance to the full council by the end of the month, the question of who will represent which neighborhoods still lingers in several areas. And for half of the council that’s up for re-election next year, time may be valuable. Councilman Tom Owen, D-8, says the sooner incumbents and candidates can connect with constituents, the better.

“The sooner we have those definitions of boundaries the faster can begin relating to that new district and those new voters that we will be inheriting in the redistricting process,” says Owen.

Many concerns about redrawing districts center around preserving neighborhoods, but one council member says splitting neighborhoods may actually increase development.

Around a dozen residents attended Monday night’s meeting (pictured) in St. Mathews. Five surrounding districts were represented and several council members spoke to residents about the redistricting process. Every ten years, local governments redraw district boundaries based on the latest census data, and occasionally neighborhoods are split.

This will be the first time Metro Government’s districts are redrawn, and Councilman Brent Ackerson, D-26, says splitting neighborhoods may not be a bad idea.

“When you say splitting neighborhoods your first knee jerk reaction is, oh my goodness. But the reality here is we’re just bringing two council members to represent an area. And I think that’s a good thing because you have two folks who can assist and aid in the development of an area. For example if an area has economic downturn and we’re looking to revitalize stores-fronts and things like that, now you have two council people that are interested in your area,” says Ackerson.

Candidates running for Metro Council have until late January to file. A final district map will be prepared in the next couple weeks following public comment. An ordinance could be voted on as early as Oct. 26.

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