Akron City Council redraws neighborhood maps for the first time since 2014
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct some minor boundary changes.
Residents of nearly a dozen city wards will vote in another city ward next year, after city council approves new political frontiers.
The new wards will come into effect in 2023, when all city council seats are elected with a primary in May and a general election in November. The terms of the current board members expire in 2024.
Map attached to the legislation: New ward boundaries described
The current ward boundaries were established in 2014. In accordance with the city charter, ward boundaries must be reviewed and adjusted every 10 years. to compensate for population movements determined by the US Census.
General Councilor Jeff Fusco said the new neighborhoods will now be balanced at around 19,000 residents each.
“We have an area of our city that has gotten so big they have to reduce the population,” he said.
Fusco was referring to Ward 2, which includes much of the North Hill neighborhood and Chapel Hill. The neighborhood’s population grew by about 2,300 (from 19,700 to about 22,000), largely due to immigration, including many refugees from other countries.
Overall, the city has seen its population decline from around 199,000 to 190,000 over the past decade.
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“All of these other areas are pretty much impacted by this growth we’ve seen, but for the most part the majority of our city has stayed the same and neighborhoods are pretty much intact,” Fusco said, referring to the new neighborhood boundaries.
The new boundaries were approved 11 to 1 at Monday night’s council meeting, with general counsel Linda Omobien voting against the measure. She said there was nothing wrong with the new map, but she did not favor the consultant the city had hired to advise the council (Triad Research Group) due to his performance in the last city slicing.
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Ward 7 Councilor Donnie Kammer was not present to vote.
Ward 2 will lose parts of North Hill
Ward 2 councilor Phil Lombardo said he supports the plan, although it will result in a smaller ward boundary and moving North Hill wards to wards 5 and 10.
“I was most affected by this – yes, I wish more members of the neighborhood could be together, but it is what it is and I’m just ready to move forward with this and put this one behind us,” Lombardo said.
Lombardo said there are few options for moving people to other neighborhoods because Ward 2 is bounded on the north by Cuyahoga Falls, on the east by Tallmadge and its northwest boundary adjacent to the district 1 is sparsely populated.
He said a major consideration in the city’s overall plan was to maintain a balance of non-white population in city neighborhoods.
The new map retains four wards with majority non-white populations, although only three currently have non-white majorities of voting age – wards 3, 4 and 5.
Ward 2 will also have a majority non-white population, but just under 50% of residents will be of voting age, according to Triad Research, which recommended the new limits.
While Ward 5 gains areas west of North Main Street and south of Glenwood Avenue from Ward 2, Ward 10 gains areas on the east side of State Road 8 south of Fouse Avenue to Damon Street and the area between Evans Avenue and Moraine Street east of Davis Street.
The area that Ward 10 gains also includes Celebration Church, Summit County Juvenile Court, and the Akron Public School property south of East North Street.
Lombardo said he had hoped to keep some neighborhoods in Ward 2 but couldn’t get everything he wanted.
“I wish it was just the neighborhood and numbers are what numbers are,” he said. “I got something I wanted, but I must have lost something. At the end of the day, if these people call me again without knowing what their parish is, I will talk to them anyway.”
Ward 2 gains an area – the portion of Ward 10 northeast of Nutwood Road near Eastland Avenue.
Lombardo said changes were made to balance Ward 2’s non-white population as part of the overall plan.
Ward 5 expands in the north
While part of Ward 5 will go to Ward 1, including an area west of Cuyahoga Street, the two additions to Ward 2 will increase its population.
Ward 5 currently includes a portion of North Hill west of Chalker and Howard Streets south of Burns Avenue.
The new Ward 5 boundary in this area will extend three blocks east to North Main Street, from Iuka Avenue in the north to East Cuyahoga Falls Avenue in the south.
Ward 5 also gains the neighborhood south of East Glenwood Avenue from Butler Street to Patterson Avenue.
Ward 5 Councilor Tara Mosely said she was disappointed that some 200 residents from her ward were moving to Ward 1, but added that she was ready to work with voters in areas that will move to Ward 5. .
“It was a bit bittersweet for me,” she said. “I complain more about losing people than winning people.”
She noted that her neighborhood is somewhat unique in that it spans several neighborhoods across the city, from East Akron to South Akron, University Park, Cascade Valley and North Hill.
“It gives me a different work ethic because I have to cross town,” she said.
Wards 6, 10 exchange subdivisions
While Ward 10 has reclaimed part of North Hill, it will also reclaim a Goodyear Heights neighborhood from Ward 6. Two Ellet neighborhoods will move from Ward 10 to Ward 6, joining the rest of Ellet.
The Goodyear Heights neighborhood along Congo Street and Eastlawn Avenue west of Darrow Road, from Newton Street south to the train tracks, will be moved from Ward 6 to Ward 10.
South of Route 76, two subdivisions of Ellet east of Massillon Road will be transferred from Ward 10 to Ward 6.
Ward 10 Councilwoman Sharon Connor said residents would be happy to return to the rest of their neighborhoods, especially in Ellet’s subdivisions.
“That’s what they wanted anyway,” she said. “You can see on the map why they would feel that way, so I was grateful to be able to give them what they wanted.”
Ward 6 Councilman Brad McKitrick said while the changes between his ward and Ward 10 are an improvement, many residents in the easternmost part of Ward 6 north of I-76 feel more closely aligned with Goodyear Heights, rather than Ellet.
Other minor changes
Two small areas in Wards 4 and 7 will add to the population of Ward 3.
They include several blocks north of Cole Avenue in Ward 7 east of South Main Street in South Akron and the Ward 4 area in West Akron between Wildwood Avenue, Stadelman Avenue, and West Exchange Street.
A portion of Ward 3 north of South Maple Street will go to Ward 1 and two blocks from Ward 1, including the Akron Civic Theater and Lock 3 Park, will go to Ward 3.
A small portion of Ward 8 south of East Market Street will become part of Ward 4.
Eric Marotta can be reached at 330-541-9433, or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @MarottaEric.