County Holding Public Hearing on New District Boundaries Tonight

Plans are being considered that would change the current nine-district boundaries or increase the number of districts to 13.

The public is invited to share input on redistricting plans that could affect local representation at the county board level.

At 6 p.m. tonight, there is a public hearing at the Will County Office Building, 302 N. Chicago St., on the second floor. Residents will be able to give feedback on two proposed plans, one that would change the current nine-district boundaries and another that would increase the number of districts to 13.

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 the same number of residents. The county , with a 35 percent bump, between the 2000 and 2010 Census counts.

So the County Board is considering two main plans: redraw the current nine districts with three members representing each, or drawing 13 districts that would each have two representatives. Keeping nine and redrawing the current boundaries, at least based off plans reviewed Wednesday, would split New Lenox between two districts but move all of Frankfort into one. 

"I would like to see old boundaries in New Lenox and Frankfort maintained," said Tom Weigel (R-New Lenox). "I would be moved out of the district I've had for six years."

The board will continue to hold public hearings for interested residents and to review more plans. The hearings are mandatory under the 2011 Illinois Voting Rights Act and Public Participation and Transparency Act. Although redistricting is necessary, it's often involved political ploys that have manipulated voters, in many cases minority groups. 

Ed Kusta (R-Bolingbrook) said he wants to see the map that would draw 13 districts. He was concerned with the size of some districts, especially the first, which would stretch 32 miles on the south end of Will County. 

"I understand population was a factor, but that's just sheer madness."

County Executive Larry Walsh, who has previously said he wouldn't want to increase the number of districts, presented the board with his plan for redrawing district lines.

"If this is what we have to do, then this is what we have to do," Laurie Smith (R-New Lenox) said of the nine-district plan. "But I'd like to see options."

Committee Chairman Don Gould (R-Shorewood) said this plan was better for the Lincoln-Way area than it is now, which currently splits Frankfort between the first and second districts.

New Lenox is currently split between the second and sixth districts, though only up near Laraway Road; this would extend the second district to Route 30 in New Lenox. Each district must have about 74,000 population, another reason for the changes.

"It's impossible to keep the two townships (Frankfort and New Lenox) together because that's a combined population of 98,000," Gould said. "This would keep things together more than they are currently."

To Learn More: See the PDFs attached to this article to view the nine- and 13-district plans, or go to the County Board's website for more information. See below for the proposed district populations if the nine-district plan was adopted.

District Population Hispanic Black Asian White 1. South/East Will County 74,554 6.39 19.96 0.86 71.96 2. Lincoln-Way 74,767 5.38 2.74 2.64 88.71 3. Romeoville/Naperville 75,352 15.45 6.76 9.52 67.44 4. Bolingbrook 75,301 25.2 21.1 11.57 41 5. Plainfield/Aurora 75,429 12.02 7.23 12.67 67.17 6. Villages Bordering Joliet 74,753 8.34 2.63 1.24 87.19 7. Homer/Lockport/Crest Hill 74,446 9.44 4.05 2.18 83.8 8. Joliet South and East 74,929 37.86 28.75 0.79 31.93 9. Joliet West 74,857 20.43 7.52 2.89 68.43
Michael Sewall April 28, 2011 at 01:58 PM
As far as I know, this has nothing to do with the school districts. The confusion is coming from the term "Lincoln-Way," which describes both the high school district but in this case ONLY the geographic area. The geographic area is what would be changing for representation on the Will County Board, not the high school board. For contact info for representatives and info on upcoming meetings, click the link above the chart in this article, and that will take you to the county board's website. But again, to be clear, this redistricting has to do with population growth for the COUNTY and changes the areas in which voters would vote for representatives onto the county board. The Lincoln-Way High School District is its own governing body with its own boundaries, and those aren't changed by this.
Laurie Smith April 28, 2011 at 07:06 PM
Nichole I'm sorry that this is so confusing, but I will try to explain. Every ten years we have to reapportion the county board dist. by population. Our district is currently 95,000 we have to switch 20,000 people into another ajoining district, just like the State Representative dist, will be doing in the next few months. The school districts can only be changed by an act of Congress, and believe me that will never happen. Please don't worry as your representative i have all of the residents in New Lenox, Mokena, Frankfort and Tinley Park best interest at heart. Please feel free to contact me. Laurie Smith, county board member Dist #2
Cheryl April 28, 2011 at 09:35 PM
Thank you Laurie for going onto detail. I am a parent just like Nicole and one of my reasons for moving here was for the school district especially High School. I have a son who graduated from East and a daughter going there the following year.
Mike April 29, 2011 at 03:19 PM
As long as we keep Smith, I don't care.
Laurie Smith April 30, 2011 at 04:33 AM
Thanks Mike...


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »