Gulfport residents get chance to weigh in on redistricting

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Gulfport residents will have a chance to weigh in on the city's new ward lines.  Like many cities, Gulfport is redistricting due to population changes.

Since Katrina has pushed residents north, one of the biggest changes will come to the beachfront wards.

That means, when the next city council elections roll around in 2013, residents will have to double check where they're voting.

"They're moving around because they have to be proportionally the same number. So, after Katrina and after the census, especially after Katrina where a lot of folks moved away from the beach area, those numbers lowered in that area, and they grew in the north area," said Ward five council member Ricky Dombrowski.

Gulfport residents can get an early look at the future wards in a City Council meeting Monday evening.  Through a lot of give and take with council members, a consultant for the city has drawn up four possibilities.

"Now we're combined Ward two and Ward five. But, the thought process behind that was, we wanted to created a third ward in the Orange Grove area, because of the representation," said Dombrowski.

The public meeting will be used to address any resident concerns or questions about the new ward lines.  With that, council members will then decide on a final map.

Council members say the new map isn't perfect, but they have tried to keep neighborhoods as whole as possible.

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