Huntsville proceeds with redistricting guidelines amid rapid population growth
Published on August 12, 2021
The Huntsville City Council on Thursday approved its 2021 redistricting guidelines, a process that occurs every 10 years following a census count to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act and U.S. Constitution.
The Council action occurred the same day the U.S. Census Bureau released its preliminary data, which shows Huntsville’s population at 215,006 as of April 1, 2020. The number represents 19.4% growth since the 2010 census and makes Huntsville the largest city in the state.
Mayor Tommy Battle was not surprised by the census findings.
“The numbers released today by the Census Bureau validate predictions we’ve heard for a while,” he said. “And while we may be the biggest, we’re not going to stop striving to be the best in everything we do. We’ll continue to work with our regional, state and national partners to strengthen our infrastructure and attract more businesses and industries. Collaboration helped make the Rocket City what it is today, and we’ll continue to build on our successes as we move forward.”
Click here to learn more about the City’s redistricting plans and public meeting schedule
Huntsville’s population growth requires a re-examination of the five City Council districts and corresponding Huntsville School Board districts to ensure proper representation. It is important to note that redistricting changes will not change where students attend school.
The City’s redistricting team will present Mayor Battle’s plan to the Council in October. The goal is to take Huntsville’s total population and divide it equally into five districts, within a 5% deviation. The districts will be contiguous and as compact as reasonably possible.
Adoption of a final plan will fall to the Council with input from the Mayor, School Board and public.
Mayor Battle said the City will take several factors into consideration, including where incumbent Council members reside. Another priority will be to keep neighborhoods together.
“The first map will not be the map that will be adopted,” he said. “It will be looked at by citizens and other groups and improved upon. As we improve upon it, we’ll come out with something that fits the whole community, and we look forward to that.”
Leading the City’s efforts is the redistricting team, comprised of Demographer Connie Graham, Planner James Vandiver, GIS Manager Amy Kenum, GIS Specialist Dana Keener, City Attorney Trey Riley and Assistant City Attorney Melissa Long. This effort represents Graham’s third redistricting process.
“We have some great people helping us walk through this,” Mayor Battle said.
Details about the redistricting process are available at www.huntsvilleal.gov/redistricting. Pertinent information includes guidelines, meeting dates, policies and availability of census data.
The redistricting team has announced dates of importance leading up to a final vote of the Council in December.
Public hearing events in October and November will feature both the Council and School Board representative from the featured district. All public hearings will be held in the First Floor Chambers at Huntsville City Hall, 308 Fountain Circle. They will be televised, and minutes will be recorded.
- Aug. 16, 6:30 p.m.: District 3 Town Hall, Sandra Moon Community Center
- Aug. 18, 5:30 p.m.: District 5 Town Hall, Oakwood University
- Aug. 19, 6 p.m.: District 4 Town Hall, Huntsville High School
- Sept. 1, 5:30 p.m.: District 2 Town Hall, Max Luther Recreation Center
- Sept. 7, 5:30 p.m.: District 1 Town Hall, Jemison High School
- On or before Sept. 30: Public redistricting software to launch
- Oct. 14, 5:30 p.m.: Introduction of a foundational plan to City Council
- Oct. 19, 4 p.m.: Public Hearing, First Floor Chambers, City Hall
- Oct. 25, 5:30 p.m.: Public Hearing, First Floor Chambers, City Hall
- Nov. 9, 1:30 p.m.: Public Hearing, First Floor Chambers, City Hall
- Nov. 16, 4 p.m.: Public Hearing, First Floor Chambers, City Hall
- Nov. 22, 5:30 p.m.: Public Hearing, First Floor Chambers, City Hall
- Nov. 22: Deadline for public plan submission and comments
- Dec. 2, 5:30 p.m.: Final redistricting plan introduced to City Council
- Dec. 16, 5:30 p.m.: Council adopts final redistricting plan