Augustans urge redistricting committee to keep neighborhoods together

CSRA News

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Drawing new district lines continues in Augusta-Richmond County.

It was a good turnout Wednesday at Wheeless Road Elementary as Augustans made their voices heard during the last redistricting public hearing.

The ad hoc redistricting committee has learned a lot over the last couple of weeks according to their chairman, Commissioner Sean Frantom.

He said, “That’s the reason we did it four times. We were originally only going to do three (public hearings) but we felt like we had to go in each part of the county to hear the representation of what they actually felt.”

During the redistricting public hearings, many people like Charles Rollins have urged the committee to keep the Summerville, Forest Hills area in District 3 together. Under the draft map, Summerville is divided into three different districts.

David Dunagan is a Summerville business owner and acts as a ‘watch dog’ for the area. He said, “We have common interests. We have to follow a lot of historic guidelines whether it’s building a new house, or building or remodeling, and it’s just easier to have one commissioner who knows all these rules and regulations to deal with.”

Right now, District 3 is about 6,000 people over the recommended size.

“When you shift around that many people, it is going to affect significant change. It’s not surprising that there would be some who would not be happy with what they see,” said Richmond County Board of Elections Executive Director Lynn Bailey.

Dunagan said, “We’re happy about the growth in District 3 but District 3 goes all the way out past Ft. Gordon, past Jimmy Dyess Parkway. What I have recommended is the committee to consider some of those neighborhoods and shifting those over into a different district because that’s where the growth came.”

According to Frantom, the redistricting committee is listening to everybody’s ideas but it’s inevitable that some areas will be split.

Bailey added, “There’s definitely room I think for fine-tuning so that’s what the committee will do over the next couple of months is look at where they can fine-tune and perhaps even look at some neighborhoods that were split 10 years ago in redistricting to see if they can be put back together. So, lots of things to consider as they move forward.”

The redistricting committee will meet again on November 10th at the Richmond County School Board. The public will not be able to comment during the meeting.

To submit a comment to the redistricting committee, click or tap here.

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