Atlanta hosting information sessions on city’s redistricting process

Credit: bandres@ajc.com

Credit: bandres@ajc.com

The city of Atlanta is hosting a few sessions this month to inform residents about the proposed changes to the City Council’s district maps.

After months of behind-the-scenes meetings, officials last month released the proposed redistricting plans that will result in thousands of residents having new representation at City Hall. The council district lines have to shift every 10 years to ensure each has the same population.

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The next redistricting information session will occur at the Grove Park Recreation Center at 6 p.m. on Oct. 11. Another 6 p.m. session is scheduled for Oct. 12 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center and Natatorium.

Atlanta’s population grew by over 78,000 people between 2010 and 2020, the largest 10-year increase the city has seen since 1960, which was the first census to reflect the annexation of Buckhead into Atlanta. The new map will be used for the 2025 and 2029 nonpartisan city elections before the 2030 census forces another revision.

The information sessions were announced a week after the city held two public hearings for residents.

During those sessions, Oakland City resident Adrian Coleman-Tyler said she was concerned about the process because the city hosted several information sessions and public hearings during the last redistricting process. She also said she’s concerned to see a 14% decrease in the Black population of District 9 under the proposed changes.

“It is possible to draw a map with District 9 specifically that can have a little bit more of that minority representation, considering we already have five districts that are majority white in the city,” said Gabriel Sanchez, who added that the maps lack any mention of the city’s Hispanic demographic.

City attorney Amber Robinson said there is a demographic shift in some districts, but she said that reflects the changes contained in the latest census information.

Virginia Highlands resident Kay Stephenson said her community appears to be getting split into three districts —2, 5 and 6. Stephenson said she’s worried that it will be difficult for her community to get things done if they have three different representatives.

But some residents voiced support for the proposed changes, and they asked city officials to be intentional about not breaking apart the city’s historic neighborhoods.

Information on the redistricting, including an interactive dashboard, is available on the city council’s website.