CROWN POINT — The City Council’s redistricting committee met Aug. 15 to present its proposal for new council districts, as is required by law every 10 years after the census. The deadline is Dec. 31.
The committee is made up of the at-large councilmen, who are not affected by the changes, Mark Schweitzer and Bill Feder, along with Chad Jeffries of the first district.
They went over the population count precinct-by-precinct with the goal of keeping population within a 10 percent range. The committee tried as much as possible to make the difference from one district to another along the centerlines of major streets. There were a few exceptions.
The will take effect for the next city election in 2015.
The largest land mass changes are for district 1, which will keep 101st Avenue as its northern boundary but will have its northwest boundary at Indiana Avenue and run southeast along U.S. 231 to 129th, and then on the east end follow the zig-zag city limits back up to 101st Avenue.
One area that could not be kept on main streets is for the people living in White Hawk on the very northernmost streets of Freedom Circle and Veterans Lane. To keep these residents voting and staying with the rest of that subdivision the line was moved. That will keep them in district 2, currently represented by Bob Clemons. Other changes for Clemons will be on the east end. His territory will continue along 113th Avenue/South Street all the way to East Street, then go north to North Street, and east to Indiana Avenue, turning north up to 101st Avenue and west to include all of White Hawk.
Council President Andrew Kyres is the representative for district 3, the northeastern part of the city. The only change for that district is on its west side. Now everyone that lives east of Main Street will be in his district. That does keep neighborhoods together.
Laura Sauerman, 4th district has moved further east and south. She has a western boundary of Indiana Avenue with the small exception of the downtown area between North and South streets and east of East Street all the way over to the old railroad lines that cut through the Sportsplex and follow U.S. 231 to 129th Avenue and west to the very southeast section of the city and back up north to Indiana Avenue.
Carol Drasga’s 5th district will be moving east all the way to Indiana Avenue from South Street to 133rd Avenue and follow the city’s zig zag line, west and back north.
There are going to be precinct changes that the city will present to the party chairpersons. The changes would make precinct lines match district lines, and will have to be sent from the Lake County Election Board to the State Election Board in Indianapolis for its approval.
Although he will be double-checking all the census figures submitted, Republican Chairman Jim Cuffia felt that it made sense to have the boundaries line up with main streets. “It looks better than we have now,” he said.
“There will be six precinct changes that will affect twelve precincts,” said Schweitzer.
Cuffia added, “I appreciate the attempts to square up the boundaries.”
A large size map with every district outlined and every precinct listed with its population were given to Cuffia, since he was at the meeting. Democratic chair Michelle Fajman was not in attendance. The next stop is the Lake County Election Board.