Gainesville commissioners call for community input for redistricting plan

Gainesville commissioners call for community input for redistricting plan
Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 6:31 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Every ten years, district lines are redrawn.

“We have to pass a map, we can’t just delay this and not do this,” said Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos.

City commissioners hired a consultant estimated at $50,000 to redraw district lines before going in a different direction.

“Things haven’t changed too much,” added Hayes-Santos. “District one is still the Eastside district and district two is still the Northwest district.”

RELATED STORY: Gainesville city leaders are seeking feedback for a proposed redistricting map

A new plan presented by Hayes-Santos addressed concerns that the County Supervisor of Elections and community members had with the consultant’s vision. Those concerns included keeping the Duckpond and Stephen Foster neighborhoods entirely in district four.

“But there had to be some changes to deal with the new precincts that are being made and the new House maps and the State House maps that have, in essence, cut the city into three different house districts and two different senate districts,” mentioned Hayes-Santos. “That starts to make it difficult when trying to create maps that work for everyone.”

A special meeting on Thursday afternoon is meant to bring the community closer to the redistricting conversation.

“These boundaries will not change until 2030,” said President of Alachua County NAACP, Evelyn Foxx.

RELATED STORY: Preliminary Gainesville redistricting plan approved by the city commission

Commissioners have two years from the 2020 census to redistrict according to the charter. Foxx said community input is crucial and she’s happy with Hayes-Santos proposal.

“Well originally, I wanted them to wait until next year so people in the community can have some community-based organization meetings and we have a lot of community, neighborhood associations that could be presented,” added Foxx.

An interactive map shows around 35,000 people in each district. Commissioners meet again to discuss again on Thursday afternoon.

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