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New Metro website wants your input as redistricting process begins

Posted at 6:58 PM, Jul 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-27 19:58:05-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Metro Nashville will get census results next month, but they’ve developed a new website to get you involved with what happens next.

Greg Claxton, a planning manager with Metro Planning, knows that redistricting is not the easiest thing for everyone to understand. He says the last thing they want is for people to feel unprepared or uninvolved in the process.

In terms of what he and his team do, think of them as tailors. We know Metro Nashville is bursting at the seams, but they hope making adjustments can make the city a perfect fit for anyone.

Redistricting will impact Metro Council seats and Metro School Board, but they do not affect where your kids go to school.

Every 10 years, most governments throughout the country go through the redistricting process of redrawing district boundaries to reflect population changes. While they wait on the data, Claxton’s team designed a website.

First, click on the survey and answer a few short questions on how much you know about redistricting. Then you have the option to draw where you believe your neighborhood begins and ends.

“Somebody can come in and say, 'well my community is Bordeaux.' If they just say Bordeaux, well we can go in and we know where Bordeaux is generally. It helps for them to draw it in and say, 'I mean this part' or 'I mean all of it.' Getting people’s views of how they see their communities is really useful for us,” Claxton said.

Claxton believes by offering ownership in the process, it also builds trust in something that for years has always been far more technical. Now the plan is to gather as much public input as possible, before Metro Planning drafts a map for review. Neighbors will have an opportunity to meet with Metro Planning in person or virtually to share their thoughts. Maps are then revised in October before adoption in November.

Claxton says he expects to see considerable growth in places like South Nashville, Antioch, and downtown. Just as one area expands, however, Claxton says this usually creates ripple effects for neighboring communities. That means one way or another, almost all districts should expect some change.

“In addition to things like balanced populations and compactness, we can also think about how people in the county think about their neighborhoods and communities, which is why we want to hear from residents,” Claxton said.