Gainesville redistricting nears finish line

Gainesville’s redistricting efforts are entering the home stretch after the ordinance that sets the boundaries for the city’s four districts passed unanimously on first reading Thursday.

The Gainesville City Commission will finalize its redistricting efforts Monday afternoon. A second reading of the ordinance is scheduled for a special meeting at 2:30 p.m. in the City Hall Auditorium.

The city is required to complete redistricting every decade following the U.S. Census.

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Although UF consultants Michael McDonald and Daniel Smith kicked off public participation in the process in fall 2021, the city has hurried to complete its redistricting in order to set the changes before the city election in August.

The qualifying period for the three open commission slots and the mayoral race is noon on June 10 through noon on June 17.

Because the incumbent commissioners for Districts 2, 3 and 4 are term-limited, the August election will involve a new slate of candidates. Setting the boundaries as quickly as possible gives commission hopefuls more time to qualify and run in the newly drawn districts.

The city passed the ordinance on first reading during its Thursday regular meeting without making additional changes to any of the district boundaries.

During its previous redistricting discussion, the commission voted to split precinct 25 along Northwest Eighth Avenue to keep the Fifth Avenue and Pleasant Street neighborhoods in District 1 and the Oakview and Grove Street neighborhoods in District 4.

As part of redistricting, the city has rebalanced the population of the four commission districts so that they are roughly equal. The commission has also preserved the historically black District 1 and created a second minority-majority district in District 3.

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