Published: 10 July 2012 09:43 PM

After more than an hour of impassioned comments from residents, Riverside City Council members postponed a decision on new ward boundaries to allow further discussion.

The changes were intended to even out the populations of the seven wards, but many speakers on Tuesday, July 10, objected to a plan to move businesses in the Marketplace from Ward 2’s Eastside into Ward 1.

The new boundaries will go back to the council’s governmental affairs committee at its next meeting, the council decided Tuesday, July 10.

City of Riverside’s proposed boundaries

The council initially redrew the boundaries at a June 19 meeting and just needed a vote to finalize the new map, but Ward 2 Councilman Andy Melendrez argued that the Marketplace change had come up at the last minute and wasn’t vetted with the people it would most affect.

Melendrez has said the Marketplace provides an important transition between downtown and the Eastside’s residential area.

Redistricting is done every 10 years in connection with new census data to get each ward as close as possible to an average population — the city’s population divided by 7. This time around, wards 1, 3, 5 and 6 needed to add people, and the other three wards were too big.

Between the 2000 and 2010 censuses, the city’s population grew by about 19 percent, with most residents added in Ward 4. Wards 2 and 7 also have more than the average population of 43,409 residents. Wards 1, 3, 5 and 6 have fewer people than the average.

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