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Rawles neighborhood on Mesa to become intact in council redistricting

       Public comment will continue to be taken until Tuesday, Oct. 18 on the Colorado Springs City Council redistricting draft that was released in late September by the City Clerk's Office.
       If the draft becomes final - the tentatively scheduled announcement date is Nov.
A view of the planned City Council geographical redistricting (zoomed in to show much of the Westside) shows how Precincts 107, 108 and 111 will be moved from District 1 to District 3. In each precinct, the number in green is its population. Note on the left the unchanged, weaving precinct boundary separating Precincts 102 and 109 (in D-1) from Precinct 118 (in D-3) north of Colorado Avenue. The article provides additional detail.
Courtesy of City Clerk's Office
14 - the only direct effect for the Westside will be the move of three precincts from City Council District 1 to 3.
       This change was requested by the Rawles Open Space Neighborhood, a group representing 32 rural-style properties straddling Mesa Road between Uintah Avenue and 19th streets.
       Currently, the Rawles neighborhood is divided along Mesa between D-1 and D-3.
       Having all its properties in one district promotes a “sense of neighborhood and provides more cohesiveness,” said Rawles spokesperson James Kin. “We are supportive of the efforts of the redistricting committee and the city clerk to make our neighborhood part of a single district.”
       The City Charter requires the city clerk to redraw the six council district boundaries every four years, in accordance with goals regarding population equivalence, contiguous areas and community/neighborhood preservation.
       The charter also designates the clerk (currently Sarah Johnson) to make the final decision. She said she expects to do so Nov. 14. The changes will be used in the next election of district council members in April 2017.
       On Oct. 18 from 1 to 3 p.m., the public will get to view and comment on Johnson's “preliminary report,” in a public hearing she will host at the City Administration Building, 30 S. Nevada Ave., Suite 102.
       This is the second redistricting since council increased the number of districts from four to six in 2012. The other three councilmembers are elected at-large (which won't occur again until 2019). All term lengths are four years.
A wintry scene from 2015 along Mesa Road gives an idea of the rural style of the Rawles Open Space Neighborhood. The photo looks northeast toward the intersection of Mesa Road and the no-outlet La Mesa Street. A home, set well back from Mesa Road, can be seen through the trees at right. Rawles homes straddle the road, leading to a planned redistricting change that would keep the neighborhood intact (in District 3).
Westside Pioneer file photo
After a few complaints in 2012 (including the one from Rawles), City Council agreed to require more community outreach at the next redistricting. So the process this year featured several public meetings in different parts of the city, held by a new, council-appointed redistricting committee (and attended by Johnson.)
       One such meeting (minimally attended) was held at the Westside Community Center in early September.
       The Rawles change will occur as part of moving Precincts 107, 108 and 111 from District 1 to 3 - which extends D-3's northerly border to Fillmore/Fontmore Street between I-25 and 31st Street.
       In another offshoot of the move, essentially all the older Westside will fall into D-3, instead of being partly split, as before, between D-1 and D-3 along Uintah and Platte avenues.
       The above three precincts total about 7,800 people. City-wide, the district population balance will be addressed by D-1 taking three precincts east of Union Boulevard from D-6. And, D-3 will lose a precinct each to D-4 and D-5.
       In an unchanged redistricting anomaly for the Westside, both the Grandview and Pleasant Valley neighborhoods will remain divided. Johnson said the complication there stems from how the precincts were drawn previously by the county. (The city has traditionally used precinct lines in carving out its districts.) Especially interesting is the boundary line separating Precincts 102 and 109 (in D-1) from Precinct 118 (in D-3), which turns this way and that along various neighborhood streets north of Colorado Avenue.
       For more information or to leave comments on the redistricting draft, call the City Clerk's Office at 385-5901 (option 4), e-mail election@springsgov.com, or go to coloradosprings.granicusideas.com/discussions/2016-districting.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 10/4/16; Politics: City/County)

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