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Lincoln Park faces possible redistricting

Published: Monday, January 9, 2012

Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08

43rd Ward Redistricing

43rd Ward Office

A redistricting propsal could potentially divide the 43rd ward into five other wards. The current boundaries for the 43rd ward are outlined in black. The proposed redistricting upset Lincoln Park residents and a forum will be held in DePaul's Cortelyou Commons January 11 to discuss issues surrounding the proposed boundaries.

The proposed remapping of the 43rd ward has Lincoln Park residents worried as some may find themselves belonging to one of five different wards if the proposed remapping passes.

Every ten years, Chicago's City Council must redraw the ward maps to reflect population shifts, which are based on the latest census. The proposed remapping of the 43rd ward – which encompasses most of Lincoln Park -- including DePaul's Lincoln Park Campus -- caused an uproar with residents who may find themselves belonging to a different ward if City Hall passes the redistricting.

If passed, the ordinance will take effect April 1, 2012. On Jan. 11, residents, Ald. Smith and 33rd ward alderman Richard Mell will hold a public forum at 6 p.m. in DePaul University's Cortelyou Commons to discuss the issues residents have over the redistricting.

The Black Caucus proposal, known as "Map For a Better Chicago," will divide Lincoln Park into five wards: the 43rd, 44th, 32nd, 27th, and 2nd. This could cause big problems for 43rd ward residents, who now might be incorporated into a different ward, and for 43rd ward alderman, Michele Smith.

Ald. Smith supports the Latino Caucus' "Taxpayer Protection Map," which more closely preserves the integrity of the current boundaries of her ward.

A letter to residents detailed that, "according to the "Map For a Better Chicago" proposal, a division between five separate wards would mean daily services as well as large scale development projects would have to be handled by five separate offices."

The letter went on to address the redevelopment of the Children's Memorial Hospital site, a major endeavor in the Lincoln Park area with which Ald. Smith has worked closely since taking office roughly six months ago. According to a fact sheet sent from the alderman's office.

"Under the proposed plan ("Map For a Better Chicago"), the area immediately surrounding the hospital will be divided into three wards, which could complicate the planning and execution of the redevelopment."

Other projects, such as local festivals and programs, and the Neighborhood Planning and Zoning Review have "the potential to be a nightmare, especially if five Aldermen have different goals."

It will be much harder when four or five alderman have to be consulted to solve problems, support local festivals, programs and invest in much-needed infrastructure projects.

Neighborhood Planning and Zoning Review has the potential to be a nightmare, especially if five Aldermen have different goals. A new 2nd ward that stretches from Orchard to Kimball can hardly efficiently represent the various communities and constituents.

Richard Mell is the chair of the city's committee on Committees, Rules and Ethics, which managed the redistricting process.

There are three factors to consider when redistricting the city. The first is that it is divided into 50 wards of equal population. The current population of Chicago will require each ward to represent 53,912 residents.

Wards should be compact and adjacent to one another. Ideally, they will mimic the city's grid system.

Finally, in an effort to satisfy the requirements of the United States Voting Rights Act, the United States Constitution, and the Illinois Constitution, wards must provide fair and equal opportunity for minority residents to elect representatives of their choice.

The result of the 2010 census indicate that while Chicago's total population has decreased, there has been a significant increase of particular groups. The total population of Caucasians decreased by 52,449 and the total population of African Americans decreased by 181,453, while the population of Hispanics, Asians, and other non-Hispanic, non-Asian populations increased by 12,200 respectively.

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