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Wendy Reuer, Published March 12 2012

Some Moorhead residents fight redistricting

MOORHEAD – Residents of a historic neighborhood here say they don’t want their neighbors to be in a different election ward than they are.

The City Council approved the first reading of a ward redistricting plan that would place some homes in the Comstock neighborhood in the 3rd Ward while others would remain in the 2nd Ward.

The Comstock neighborhood is home to some of the oldest homes in south Moorhead, located along Eighth, Ninth and 10th streets between Fourth and Ninth avenues.

In the proposed redistricting plan, the 2nd Ward’s northern boundary would be at Eighth Avenue North. On the southern end, which is adjacent to the 3rd Ward, the western part of the 2nd Ward would end at Fifth Avenue North, while the eastern half would end at Fourth Avenue South.

Deb White, who lives on Ninth Street South, said she is concerned the plan places a greater number of residents who live along the river in just one ward: the 3rd Ward. She said she is concerned 3rd Ward council members will be more focused on flood issues than the issues of the Comstock neighborhood.

Second Ward Councilwoman Heidi Durand was the lone vote against the plan.

Durand asked that City Clerk Jill Wenger see if the ward boundary could be moved south to Fifth Avenue and extend west to Eighth Street and down to Ninth Avenue.

“I just wanted to see what the numbers could be,” Durand said.

The city is facing redistricting after the 2010 census showed the 4th Ward had grown to include about 4,000 more residents and the city had grown by nearly 6,000. State law requires no more than a 10 percent population difference between election wards.

A public hearing will be held on the redistricting plan Monday. More information is available on the city’s website at: www.ci.moorhead.mn.us/whats_new.

Readers can reach Forum reporterWendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530