Gastonia City Council makes final decision on neighborhood map redesign

The City Council of Gastonia adjusted its six political wards to balance the population between the six wards within the city limits.

The changes, approved by city council on May 3, altered the city’s six districts. Neighborhoods play a role in where elected officials should live.

“It doesn’t matter what neighborhood you are in, we want to take care of all the people,” said Gastonia City Councilor Dave Kirlin.

Deputy City Manager Quentin McPhatter presented two scenarios at the May 3 meeting.

The city has approved “Scenario C,” which can be viewed online along with other interactive maps showing the layout of neighborhoods before and after the redistricting process.

McPhatter said the city has only received a few emails from residents with questions about the process.

He also recommends residents use their addresses and the interactive online maps to find what neighborhood they live in and contact city staff with any questions.

“We had some neighborhoods that didn’t have the ideal number of residents,” McPhatter said. “This effort fixes that.”

Gastonia’s uneven population growth over the past 10 years has created a population imbalance between the city’s six neighborhoods.

Gastonia’s population has increased by 12% from 71,741 to 80,411 over the past 10 years.

But some neighborhoods — wards 1 and 3 in southeastern Gastonia — saw more growth, while wards 4 and 6 in western Gastonia had less.

The city’s redistricting process prioritized maintaining one city council member per ward, though city voters can vote for candidates regardless of the ward they live in.

How does Gastonia redraw neighborhood maps?

The city partnered with the Centralina Regional Council to help with the process, which began Feb. 1 and ended at the city council meeting on Tuesday, May 3.

The city worked with the Centralina Regional Council to analyze census data, collect local GIS data, and examine ideal scenarios for the size of each neighborhood.

Throughout the process, the city determined that each neighborhood should have a population of approximately 13,402.

Redistricting scenarios

The city considered two scenarios to redraw the maps, which changed the boundaries of the six wards.

The new maps represent a population close to the ideal size for each ward, which includes approximately 13,402 residents in each ward.

What is redistricting?

The city is redrawing district boundaries to ensure voting power and representation in each ward will be based on the most current demographics.

Why is the city redrawing neighborhood maps?

Redistricting is mandatory under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Redistricting is also a federal and state-mandated process for communities with district-based voting to ensure an equal distribution of representation.

McPhatter recommends residents contact city staff with any questions or concerns about the maps or the redistricting process.

Contact Janiya Winchester at 980-319-6819 or [email protected]

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