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From our CC Rep

Hi Ben and fellow First Warders,

I went to the redistricting meeting Wednesday night, and the meeting previous to that one.  The committee is considering s number of options, including new ward boundaries and also changing the total number of wards and Common Council representatives in the City.  Currently the committee is gathering feedback from the public and from members of Council ( J.R. Claiborne and Eric Rosario also attended).  I find them to be very thoughtful and open-minded.  It is a difficult undertaking.  Every adjustment to improve one area has consequences elsewhere.  Sort of a Rubrick’s (sp?) Cube, I’d say.

New ward boundaries will be driven by the most recent census data, which puts the population of Ithaca at roughly 30,000 people.  Based on this, and the fact that the wards are required to be very close to equal in total population, each ward will need to have very close to 6,000 people.  Not registered voters, or permanent residents, or people who may move into anticipated new housing — just census-counted persons.

Believe it or not, the First Ward currently is, despite its huge area, the second LEAST populated ward in the City.  It will have to get larger, at least in population, in this redistricting.  The 5th Ward is in the same boat, but since it borders the Cornell campus, adjustments there will be relatively easy, I think.

Two options have been discussed so far.  One is to carve off the 2nd Ward “peninsula” south of Six Mile Creek between S. Plain St and Meadow St. that includes Titus Towers and put that in the First Ward.

Another is to return the West End to the First Ward, setting the boundary with the 2nd Ward at Meadow Street or Fulton St.  Historically, this part of town was always in the 1st Ward, until the last redistricting.  It remains very much a part of the West Hill neighborhood.  Plus, if this area were returned to the 1st Ward, our representatives on Council and our residents would have a more prominent seat at the table when it comes to decisions about West End/ Waterfront development.  This change would not be large in terms of population shifting, but it would bring a neighborhood back to where it belongs, in my opinion.  I strongly favor this adjustment, (the South o’ the Creek one, too, I think) and hope that many of you do as well.

I have to go to work now, so I will stop this and return to it later.  But I want to get this much out now.

yours,
George McGonigal

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