Gastonia Host Meeting May 3 for Public Comment on Neighborhood Map Redesign

Residents of Gastonia will have the opportunity on Tuesday to tell city leaders what they think of a reshuffle of electoral maps that divide the city by neighborhoods and play a role where elected officials must live.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 3 at Gastonia City Hall located at 181 S. South St.

“The public hearing will provide residents with an opportunity to review the proposed redistricting plans and provide input before any decisions are made,” said Quentin McPhatter, Deputy City Manager of Gastonia.

Gastonia’s uneven population growth over the past 10 years has created a population imbalance between the city’s six neighborhoods. One city council member comes from each of the six wards, although city voters vote for candidates regardless of which ward they live in.

Gastonia experienced a growth of 12% – 71,741 inhabitants to 80,411 inhabitants – between the 2010 and 2020 censuses.

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

At Tuesday’s meeting, the city will present different map scenarios of the redistricting plans for residents to provide input. The city has provided an interactive online map of map scenarios for each neighborhood that residents can view in advance.

How does Gastonia redraw neighborhood maps?

The city has partnered with the Centralina Regional Council to help make the process transparent and easier to understand.

The process began on February 1 and will end on Tuesday, May 3.

The city worked with Centralina Regional Council to analyze 2020 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 will consider two scenarios, scenarios A and C, to redraw the maps that will modify the borders of the six districts.

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

Online maps show residents existing neighborhoods against unique redistricting scenarios that are being considered for adoption.

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.

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

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