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City lawmakers approve redistricting map

By Eileen Buckley & Ashley Hassett

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-970836.mp3

Buffalo, NY – The Buffalo Common Council unanimously approved a revised reapportionment plan Thursday in a special session.

Lawmakers say this new redistricting map promises to keep communities together.

Common Council president and Fillmore District council member David Franczyk calls it a "fair" redistricting map.

"This is my fourth and hopefully my last reapportionment, and this was the least acrimonious since 1980 to now. It's a credit to the council members coming together," said Franczyk.

The Citizens Advisory Committee had submitted its proposal to change the borders of each district.

But lawmakers worked together to revise the map and attempted to keep as many neighborhoods together as possible.

Under the revisions, the Niagara District would retain some of its neighborhoods near the Peace Bridge.

The revised plan would make all of Allentown part of the Fillmore District. The Linwood-Oxford area would be put into the Ellicott District, and the Delaware District would pick up more streets from the Bidwell area.

Lovejoy District lawmaker Richard Fontana praised the work of all involved.

"This was a nine member team working as a council body to come up with lines that kept neighborhoods together and try to do what's best for the people of the city of Buffalo. and also really take on the challenge some hard district numbers that were presented to us from the census," said Fontana.

South District lawmaker Michael Kearns told WBFO News lawmakers wanted to make sure the neighborhoods remain in tact.

"Most of our planning decisions are based on neighborhoods and how these neighborhoods are set up and people identify with neighborhoods. The old saying is you just don't buy a house, you also buy the neighborhood, so we want to keep those in place. We want to keep the spirit of that in place, and remember this is a ten year change, so it is very important for the future of the city of Buffalo," said Kearns.

Lawmakers did attempt to preserve the Parkside neighborhood as one district, but one neighborhood that borders Amherst and Main streets would move out of the Delaware District to Masten.

Ellicott District lawmaker Darius Pridgen noted that they worked to keep communities together and respect what citizens requested.

Now the plan goes to Mayor Brown. He first needs to hold a public hearing before he approves or vetoes the plan.