RANTOUL — Later this month, the public will have a chance to view two proposed maps that divide the community into six districts from which candidates for the village board of trustees will be elected beginning next year. An open house is scheduled from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30, at the municipal building.
Those attending will be asked to fill out comment sheets, which will be provided to the village board prior to the Feb. 4 study session.
When Rantoul voters cast ballots for village board in the April 2021 election, they will vote only for a trustee candidate from their district rather than an at-large basis.
The village board last week got a look at two proposed maps drawn by a panel of local residents (a community work group) containing six districts.
Rantoul has a population of 12,941, according to the 2010 census. Thus each district will have as close to 2,156 residents as possible. (Census data from the 2020 election won’t be available until 2021 or 2022.
The districting is mandatory as a result of the Nov. 6, 2018, election in which voters backed changing the village board election system from an at-large system to a district one.
The village board must adopt a map no later than Sept. 1. Three of the trustees elected in that first election will serve one two-year term while the other three will serve four-year terms. Afterward, all will be elected to four-year terms.
Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer said the community work group worked with village administration to analyze alternatives and come up with recommendations.
“These were people asked to serve on the group, but anyone who wished to attend was allowed to participate and actively serve,” Eisenhauer said.
He called the input and result provided by the work group “exactly what we hoped it would be.”
“It was energetic. It was lively,” he said. “At times they disagreed with one another vehemently, and while nobody punched each other, which we were grateful for, you could certainly tell there were some spirited individuals who wanted to make sure this was done in a fair manner and one that was best representative of the community.”
He said no information weighed heavier than other information other than the “neighborhood formation” aspect “because I think it became very important to the group ... that we not split up what are historically or designed neighborhoods, true neighborhoods.”
In addition to U.S. census figures, available data was demographic and housing information, geographic and neighborhood information and registered voter and historical voting information.
Last week’s meeting gives the village board and the community a chance to mull over the proposals.
The map approved by the board of trustees will be valid for two years. Another map will then be drawn using 2020 census data prior to the 2023 municipal consolidated election. Then new maps will be drawn every 10 years.
Urban Planner Chris Milliken outlined the two map proposals.
Map alternative 1:
• District 1 (population 2,256) — east of Chanute Street, north of Veterans Parkway, south of U.S. 136 to the east village limits;
• District 2 (population 2,025) — The Golfview Drive area and including much of the airport, south of Veterans Parkway, east of Century Boulevard, south and east to the village limits;
• District 3 (population 2,185) — south of U.S. 136, west of Chanute Street, east of the railroad tracks and south to the village limits;
• District 4 (population 2,011) — everything west of the railroad tracks, also including downtown and a portion to the north of the downtown area;
• District 5 (2,140) — north of U.S. 136, east of Century Boulevard to Maplewood Drive and through the Bell Avenue area.
• District 6 (population 2,151) — everything north and east of District 5.
Map alternative 2 includes the same Districts 1, 2 and 3 plus:
• District 4 (population 2,074) — west of the tracks but with the downtown area split;
• District 5 (population 2,044) — north of District 4;
• District 6 (population 2,184) — north and east of District 5.
Residents who attended the work group sessions were Chris King, Ron Loy, Craig Rogers, Nelson Cuevas, Joan Fitzgarrald, Mike Schlosser, Brian Schurter, Jack Anderson, Loise Haines, Debbra Sweat, Jasmyne Boyce and Beverly Robinson.