BY ALICIA ROBINSON
Published: 19 June 2012 11:29 PM
After 13 meetings with residents and community and business groups, Riverside council members agreed to move council ward boundaries to even out their populations based on census data.
The changes, which the council approved Tuesday, June 19, in a 6-1 vote, mostly affect wards 1, 2 and 4. Ward 2 Councilman Andy Melendrez cast the dissenting vote.
An official map must be drawn and the council still must vote to formally adopt it later this summer.
The proposed changes would:
Move neighborhoods south of Blaine Street and east of UC Riverside from Ward 2 into Ward 1;
Use the Union Pacific railroad tracks instead of Highway 91 as the northwest boundary of the Eastside, moving businesses in the Marketplace from Ward 2 into Ward 1;
Move parts of Canyon Crest east of Alessandro Boulevard from Ward 4 into Ward 2;
Shift the south part of the Victoria neighborhood and all of Hawarden Hills from Ward 4 into Ward 3;
Move the westernmost chunk of the Arlanza neighborhood from Ward 7 into Ward 6; and
Shift a sliver north of Magnolia Avenue near the city’s western boundary from Ward 6 into Ward 7.
Several business people asked for the Marketplace boundary change.
“We eat downtown, we shop downtown, we are part of downtown,” Matt Kriedlander, who works at the Iron Works building at Ninth Street and Vine Street, told the council. “We’d really like to be in Ward 1.”
Melendrez opposed that change and said the Marketplace provides an important transition between downtown and the Eastside’s residential area.
Longtime Eastside activist Christina Duran agreed, saying the Marketplace businesses are successful because Eastside residents go there, and the businesses make donations to help parks and neighborhood causes.
But Ward 1 Councilman Mike Gardner said the city has tried unsuccessfully to create a mutually beneficial relationship between the downtown corridor and the Marketplace, and including them in the same area will help with planning.
“The decision we make should be one that focuses on what is best for our city, not what’s best for an individual councilmember,” Gardner said.
After the vote, Duran expressed outrage at the removal of the Marketplace businesses from Ward 2.
“That’s where the Eastside was founded, right there by the packing houses, and they just wipe us out like we’re nothing,” she said through angry tears.
Follow Alicia Robinson on Twitter: arobinson_pe or online at http://blog.pe.com/riverside