City redistricting discussions begin

Published 12:03 pm Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Talks began Tuesday and were to resume today on how voting ward lines in the city of Vicksburg will be redrawn to reflect the 2010 Census.

Proposals being discussed are:

• To extend the North Ward in the eastern end of the city south to take in East Clay and South Frontage Road areas, which include Porters Chapel Road, Carlton Place and Highlands subdivision.

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• To extend the North Ward south in the middle of the city — from the current Bowmar Avenue boundary to Polk Street and west to the Mississippi River.

City of Vicksburg North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield, Mayor Paul Winfield, city clerk Walter Osborne and city attorney Lee Thames met Tuesday in Jackson with planners from the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District, which is preparing the city’s new redistricting map.

The planners were to meet with the board today to view two proposed maps.

According to the 2010 census, Vicksburg’s population is 23,856, with 12,869 people in the South Ward and 10,987 in the North Ward. The goal of the redistricting is to equalize the wards. The North Ward would remain a majority black voting district, while the South would remain majority white.

“This is the first time that the census was done by census block,” Mayfield said. “It gives you a real-time picture as far as the ratio of the voting-age population and race.

“We want to make sure we don’t have any deviation in the population, and that we don’t move people out of their precincts if we can help it,” Mayfield said. “We need to have plans for people to look at, and we need to hold hearings and get their thoughts.”

In the county, Warren County administrator John Smith said CMPDD has sent the county’s redistricting map and documents to the U.S. Justice Department in Washington, D.C., for approval.