Council to Vote on Proposal for New Wards

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — City council member will vote Tuesday morning on a controversial proposal for new ward boundaries.

The new boundaries were drawn up by Council President Martin Sweeney with input from community groups, he said.

“The redistricting process has been fair and transparent, bringing many parties together at the table to create 17 wards within the city of Cleveland,” Sweeney said in a statement on council’s website.

“Council members, community development organizations, major businesses and organizations, as well as educational institutions, but most importantly our constituents all participated in healthy dialogs to help create the new ward map of the city. The discussions brought about a well thought out redistricting process that will ensure our residents, businesses and institutions are well served by the city,” Sweeney said in the statement.

The proposed new wards split Collinwood into two wards and downtown Cleveland into three wards, among other changes.

Voters approved the redistricting, which takes the number of wards, and city council members from 19 to 17.

The reason for losing two wards is population decline over the last 10 years.

This, of course, means two council members have to go.

Jay Westbrook will not seek re-election in November. He represents Ward 16, an area that consists of Denison, West Boulevard, Cudell and Edgewater neighborhoods.

That leaves one more that council member that will soon be out of a job.

Tuesday a two-thirds majority of the council, or 12 members, must approve the new plan or it will not pass.

If the council does not approve a new boundary map by the deadline of April 1, Mayor Frank Jackson must design the new boundaries.

The changes would take effect Jan. 6, 2014.

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