NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Davidson County is getting its first look at how population growth and distribution will impact redistricting.
Metro Nashville Planning Department has released the first draft map of district changes in what's called "Proposal A". The goal is to create equal representation for residents, despite areas of unequal growth.
"Redistricting is the regular redrawing of council and school board district boundaries, as well as other governments throughout the country, to reflect unequal levels of growth throughout the county," said Metro Planner Gregory Claxton who is over seeing the project. "These initial draft maps, we're calling them 'Proposal A', because we don't anticipate that they're the final draft by any means and then we're embarking in about probably a month of community engagement."
This comes after Metro Codes and Planning officials spent weeks redrawing districts in Davidson County as a result of population growth. Once 2020 census data was released in August, Metro Nashville Codes and Planning quickly got to work creating the new mapping.
"Ultimately this impacts the quality of life in our communities, it impacts the number of schools that we have in our communities, libraries, parks, etc. and that is important to the community," said District 3 Council Member, Jennifer Gamble. Hers is one of several districts that could see major changes. "I think that this new proposal drastically changes the demographics, the social, economic and geographical character of District 3 in a way that's really not in line with the redistrict criteria."
As the lines are redrawn, some districts will grow, while others shrink, to correlate with the number of people living in them.
"So this was really an opportunity, right?" said District 15 Council Member, Jeff Syracuse. "As we've grown and as the population has shifted, or whatnot, the planning department has done an excellent job of using this as an opportunity to really find those lines where perhaps they may have made sense ten years ago but don't anymore."
But some, like Council Member Gamble, worry what redistricting could mean for her community. "I worry about that the political power and voice of certain communities will be diminished, not just in District 3 but also in the adjoining District 1 which has kind of been redrawn as a rural district."
The process hasn't been done in a decade.
"So suffice to say there's been a few changes in Nashville between 2010 and 2020 and the census data certainly showed us where the population has grown within the county and so there's a few pretty big changes that we anticipated were going to happen," said Syracuse.
The newly released first draft will be up for the public's input until November 22.
Leaders says the next two weeks will be "intense".
There will be several opportunities to voice your opinion at upcoming community feedback meetings, as seen below:
- Monday, Oct. 18: Sonny West Conference Center, 3 to 7:30 p.m.
- Thursday, Oct. 21: Madison Library, 2 to 4 p.m. by appointment, 4:30 to 7 p.m. open house
- Monday, Oct. 25: Southeast Library, 2 to 4 p.m. by appointment, 4:30 to 7 p.m. open house
- Wednesday, Oct. 27, Bordeaux Library, 2 to 4 p.m. by appointment, 4:30 to 7 p.m. open house
You can also find more information on the redistricting website.