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Redistricting will balance populations in city wards

Some residences will be assigned to new wards

Published: Thursday, July 11, 2013 8:14 a.m. CST

The city of Morris is doing some re-districting of its four wards that will move some residences into different wards with different aldermen representing them.

The Finance and Administration Committee met Monday and voted on a new map of the wards, which will go before the full city council Monday, July 15, said Mayor Richard Kopczick Tuesday.

The city of Morris’ population is currently about 13,426, so it can continue to work with four wards. Once it hits 15,000, it will need five wards and will have to re-district again, said Kopczick.

“The First Ward to the west was growing and is lopsided. Wards two and four are not in-sync. They are supposed to be as close to equal as possible in population, so we are trying to re-balance the four wards,” he said.

“We think we can accomplish this without disrupting any of the aldermen.”

All eight aldermen will remain in their wards so the same aldermen will represent each ward, but some residences have been moved out of their ward.

The goal was to get as close as possible to a 3,357 population per ward. The First Ward will have about 3,366, Second Ward about 3,371, Third Ward about 3,348 and the Fourth Ward, 3,341.

Some areas of the city will move into different wards, if the council approves the changes. The area south of McKinley Street to the railroad tracks from Illinois 47 to Price Street would be in the Third Ward and was previously in the Fourth.

A portion of the First Ward, from Lakewood Drive east to Lisbon Street and Bedford Road south to the railroad tracks, could now be in the Second Ward. And from Lisbon Street east to Illinois 47, between Bedford to the tracks, would now be in the Fourth rather than the First.

North of U.S. 6, west to Lisbon Road, was previously in the First as well, and now would be in the Fourth, said Kopczick.

The largest sections have gone from the First to the Second and the Third, he said.

“The First Ward has the potential for more continued growth because (of annexations) moving to the west,” said the mayor.

The Third Ward has potential for more growth with the proposed marina development, while there is some potential for development north on Illinois 47 in the Fourth Ward. The Second Ward has some room for growth on Old Stage Road as well, he said.

If the city council approves the recommended re-districting Monday, the new map will then go to the Grundy County Clerk’s office, where any precinct and polling place locations for the relocated areas will be changed.

County Clerk Lana Phillips said new voter registration cards are being sent this year and those who are moved into a new ward will have their new information on the card.

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