With a growing population, Aurora City Council is redrawing its ward map

Aurora City Council's proposed 2022 ward map

Following the 2020 census results, Aurora leaders are adjusting the city’s ward boundaries to maintain comparable population sizes in each ward, with a public hearing set for April 25.

The city’s population grew by 1,691 residents between the 2010 and 2020 count, reaching 17,239. But different parts of the city did not grow at the same pace. 

Aurora’s charter requires “one person, one vote,” said Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin, and courts generally stipulate ward equity by about 5%.

City council hired Robert Dykes, president of Triad Research Group, to revise the city’s ward boundaries. Triad’s research found that Aurora’s Ward 6 is the most divergent, at 13% below what it should be. Wards 3 and 4 are over 5% above, and Wards 2 and 6 are more than 5% below, Dykes said.

The map city leaders are considering will result in ward boundaries that are “generally equal, not exactly equal,” Aurora Law Director Dean DePiero said.

The new map also reunites the neighborhood between Rock Creek Drive and Nancy Drive, Dykes said.

Since the city’s Hawthorn and Geauga Lake areas represent the most growth, that’s where most of the changes will be made, he said, adding that the goal was to avoid splitting neighborhoods as much as possible.

There are instances where a person could be in a different ward than the person across the street, he said, emphasizing that it is easier to draw boundaries down the center of streets than it is to draw them through backyards.

Even so, “the tweaks are minimal,” DePiero said. “There’s no earth-shaking changes.”

As the new Renaissance Park development fills up, ward boundaries could be redrawn before the 2030 census, Dykes said. The builder’s site plan shows 86 townhomes and traditional single-family homes arrayed on two roads.

Aurora’s city charter mandates that ward boundaries be redrawn within 120 days of receiving census data, so the city is just short of a year late, Council Member John Kudley said. Still, that’s better than last time, when the city took five years to do it, he noted. 

At that, Dykes told city leaders not to feel too bad, given all the confusion surrounding the most recent census.

+ posts

Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.