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Frankfort, New Lenox Split in County Reshuffling

The Will County Board voted Thursday on a new map that will increase the number of districts but drop representation from three to two people elected in each district.

Although Frankfort and New Lenox are being split up in Will County's recently approved district boundary changes, the current elected officials won't face a sticky, odd-person-out situation that other new districts could.

The Will County Board voted Thursday morning to change its boundaries, increasing the number of districts from nine to 13 but cutting the overall number of representatives to 26, down one from the current makeup.

Once every 10 years using U.S. Census data, the Will County Board must redraw the county’s district map so that each district serves about the same number of residents. The county , with a 35 percent bump, between the 2000 and 2010 Census counts.

Currently, New Lenox, Mokena and part of Frankfort share a district represented by Laurie Smith and Tom Weigel of New Lenox, as well as board chairman Jim Moustis of Frankfort.

In the new maps proposed, New Lenox and Frankfort are in entirely separate districts, meaning Smith and Weigel could maintain their seats when the number of representatives per district is cut from three to two. If the three local incumbents were kept in the same future district, one would have had to move, retire or battle with the other incumbents in an election.

Other redrawn districts face that issue, where there are three incumbents but will only be two available seats when the map goes into effect with the 2012 election.

Frankfort will be in District 2, which also includes Green Garden, Manhattan and the portion of Tinley Park that's in Will County. Mokena, New Lenox and part of Orland Park will shift into District 12.

According to the new map, there are two districts that are majority-minority, in Bolingbrook and southeast Joliet. There are also three Hispanic influenced districts and one black influenced district.

The board and redrawing the boundaries, and that would have put a large chunk of New Lenox into a district with other towns surrounding Joliet, including Channahon, Elwood and Shorewood.

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