Ward reapportionment shifts students


Submitted graphic.

Helene Miller

Some students living off campus will wake up in a new ward Thursday morning. City council voted in the new ward reapportionment with urgency at a special meeting Wednesday night.

The council initially planned to vote on the reapportionment in November, but reapportionment has to be enacted 150 days before the primary vote, which is now March 6.

Students living north of S.R. 261 and south of Cambridge Drive are now in Ward 3. These include students living on Stratford Drive, Whitehall Boulevard, Courtland Drive, Summit Gardens and Hastings Drive. This also affects students living on Fraternity Circle. Their council member is now Wayne Wilson.

Wards are based upon the populations within them, and no ward can be more than 10 percent different from another in population. Information from the 2010 census revealed a drastic imbalance and a need for reapportionment.

The council had voted for a similar reapportionment at the September committees meeting, but concern from council members delayed the process.

Councilman John Kuhar of Ward 4 wanted to gain more permanent residents in his area to offset the many transient students that live there currently. While he is losing some student residents, he will be gaining residents north of East School Street, including those who live on Morris Road, May Street and Oak Street. These residents are coming from Ward 5.

Bridget Susel, the grants and neighborhood programs administrator and acting community development director, had to change the reapportionment four times to comply with code and meet council’s requests.

Susel said the reapportionment will affect voting districts, but that information won’t be available until the Portage County Board of elections receives the new data.

Contact Helene Miller at [email protected].