COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council will establish new wards at Monday night's meeting. Officials have been working on drawings of reapportioned wards since 2010 census data was released.
The biggest change in the new boundaries could be in the first and fourth wards, where new residents could be drawn in, increasing population in both areas. Mayor Bob McDavid has said plans A, B, and E are the committee's top options.
In Trial A, the first ward would gain territory east to Old Highway 63, which currently sits in the third ward. The third ward takes land from the second ward, on what is Route 763 (Rangeline). The fourth ward would increase its boundary south to the MKT Trail, currently part of the fifth ward.
In Trial B, the first ward extends its boundary north of I-70 into the second ward. It would also add a block at the northeast corner of Stadium and Providence, which is now part of the sixth ward. Wards two, three, and four would extend the same as they would in Trial A.
Trial C would bring changes to the first ward as well. It would take the boundary all the way to Silvey Street on the west. It would also take the northeast block of Stadium and Providence, just as in Trials A and B. The fourth ward would extend south to the MKT Trail, the same as Trials A and B. Maps of the current Columbia wards can be found here.
Ward One Councilman Fred Schmidt says he will vote for proposal E, which would extend ward one west to Silvey Street. He says plan A has it's merits, but bringing diversity to the ward is a welcomed change. "There is some consensus around option A, and option A has it's merits, but the public has spoken in great length in opposition of that plan, and one could argue that the idea of a downtown, central city ward may have outlived its time."
Schmidt expects the council to split the vote at 3-3 between plans A and E, leaving Mayor Bob McDavid with the deciding vote.