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Alternate plan proposed for Detroit Council districts

The non-profit group Data Driven Detroit has released its own map suggesting how to divide the city into districts.

Detroit voters have chosen to elect seven of nine City Council members by district, rather than the present "at-large" system.

The City Planning Commission gave the Council four possible maps to consider.

But the non-profit group Data Driven Detroit has reviewed the data, and produced its own plan—one they’re calling “Option 5.”

Data Driven Detroit Director Kurt Metzger thinks Option 5 should added to the mix, because it’s drawn with an eye toward keeping the city’s distinct neighborhoods—and the community groups and other infrastructure they’ve built up over time—together.

“Maybe we should be thinking, as we divide up the city into districts, [that] the district should represent neighborhoods,” Metzger said. “The city is made up of neighborhoods. [So]let’s start at how well those maps fit, and is there a better way to come up with a seven-district map?”

But Metzger suggests the idea that the public should be able to influence the whole process is more important the map itself. “Just because four options were presented doesn’t mean it’s a done deal, and you just have to look at the four and pick out the one you like best,” he said.

The City Council has asked the Planning Commission to review the fifth plan, and recommend whether it should be included as an option. A Planning Commission official says they plan to do to that, but suggests Option 5 would need to be modified so that voting precincts aren’t split up.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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