How did the Hamilton County redistribution change the political map?
The Hamilton County Commission last week approved new district boundaries based on 2020 census data, adding two districts to the county’s current nine – but residents need to know more about how their districts will be changed.
Pending final state approval of maps, the new District 10 will stretch along the eastern county border, including Collegedale and Georgetown. It will also include the areas surrounding Ooltewah’s elementary, middle and secondary schools.
The new district is carved out of the existing districts of Commissioner Steve Highlander and Commission Chair Sabrena Smedley, both Republicans from Ooltewah.
The new District 11 will be located in the southwest corner of the county. It will include Lookout Valley and Lookout Mountain. Further east, it will also include the area surrounding Chattanooga’s Asbury Park.
District 11 is formed from the existing districts of Commissioners David Sharpe, D-Chattanooga and Warren Mackey, D-Lake Vista.
County Mayor Jim Coppinger and the county mapping service referred The Times Free Press to individual commissioners for details on how mapping went in their areas. According to them, here is how the nine existing neighborhoods are realigned to make way for the two new ones:
District 1 (Randy Fairbanks, R-Soddy Daisy)
Current District 1 lines include portions of areas such as Sale Creek, Soddy-Daisy, and the northern tip of Chattanooga. The district will get rid of Mowbray Mountain, Flat Top Mountain and North Woods, which will join District 2, Fairbanks said.
“I had no gain,” Fairbanks said. “All I did was lose.
(READ MORE: Hamilton County Commissioners Approve Adding Two New Districts to County Map)
District 2 (Chip Baker, R-Signal Mountain)
District 2 includes portions of Falling Water, Signal Mountain, and Red Bank. It also includes eastern Chattanooga. The main change with the new map is that the district as a whole has moved further north.
The northernmost areas of the district include what Baker took from District 1, such as Northwoods and Flat Top Mountain. At the northern end of the district, communities along Highway 111 near Heiss Mountain Road, Reed Lane and Jones Gap Road will also be included in the new district.
Baker will lose part of northern Chattanooga, which is home to communities near Highway 27. He will also lose voters who live around McCahill Road, Oakland Terrace and Martin Road. These areas will be transferred to the new District 6, he said.
“[My district] changed significantly, ”Baker said.
District 3 (Greg Martin, R-Hixson)
District 3 includes parts of areas such as northern Chattanooga, Middle Valley, Lakesite and Hixson.
Martin said under the new map he would also lose voters in Hixson around Daisy Dallas Road, which is in the southern part of his district. This zone will be transferred to District 1.
In the northern part of his district, he will lose voters in the constituencies of Northgate 1 and Northgate 2 near Ely Road, which will be divided into the new districts 2 and 6.
Martin described the changes as slight; he did not gain any new territory and the portion he lost represented 7,000 voters.
District 4 (Warren Mackey, D-Lake Vista)
District 4 includes areas such as Riverside, Highland Park, and East Lake in Chattanooga.
In the Mackey District, he will share Glenwood with Katherlyn Geter, D-Ridgeside. Geter will get the east side, and Mackey will get the west side. The dividing line between the two areas will be Glenwood Drive.
The district was one of the most difficult to draw because the commission wanted to keep the majority of the population made up of minorities. If approved by the state, the new district will be made up of 52% minority residents, Mackey said.
He added that it would also deprive voters of the right to vote by separating Alton Park, Piney Woods and Oak Hill and moving them to District 5 – leaving many residents wondering if their interests are represented.
Smedley, the main point of contact for redistribution issues, said Districts 4 and 5 were confusing due to constant change and therefore did not know how wards were divided.
District 5 (Katherlyn Geter, D-Ridgeside)
District 5 includes all of Ridgeside and part of Chattanooga.
The district was also difficult for commissioners to trace, Smedley said, with commissioners keen to make it a majority minority district.
Geter did not respond to multiple requests for comment Thursday and Friday, but at Tuesday’s meeting Geter said she would lose the area around Harrison Elementary School to District 9, leaving the district with a only primary school.
It will also lose the west side of Wilcox Boulevard in Dalewood.
The district will now have a minority population of around 51% according to the new map.
District 6 (David Sharpe, D-Chattanooga)
District 6 includes municipalities such as Red Bank, Lookout Mountain and part of southwest Chattanooga.
The District will lose all of Lookout Mountain and Lookout Valley with the new map, moving those areas to District 11.
Sharpe will also lose his Southside neighborhoods in Chattanooga, with voters north of Market Street moving to District 4. Everything south of Main Street will move to District 11.
On the other hand, Sharpe District will also include all of Red Bank rather than just part.
Sharpe said his district boundaries were well drawn, but he attributed many other aspects of the overall county map to racial gerrymandering that divides communities.
“I think it’s a terrible card,” he said.
(READ MORE: Cooper: Despite the rhetoric, 11 county districts could be a godsend for black representation, Democrats)
District 7 (Sabrena Smedley, R-Ooltewah)
District 7 includes municipalities such as Apison, Collegedale and East Chattanooga.
Due to its strong growth of around 28% over the past decade, the district will lose Collegedale, which includes voters located near Ooltewah-Ringold, University Drive, College Drive and Apison Pike. These areas will be moved to District 10.
“In the end, we found the best option,” Smedley said, adding that she would also lose the areas of Cambridge Estates, Yorktown Estates and Yorktown Woods.
District 8 (Tim Boyd, R-Chattanooga)
District 8, which grew about 8%, includes all of East Ridge and part of southern Chattanooga.
Boyd will lose part of East Brainard with the new map, specifically the area surrounding East Brainerd Primary School and the school itself. These areas will be transferred to District 7.
(READ MORE: Hamilton County Commission hosts fifth redistribution workshop to discuss political boundaries)
District 9 (Steve Highlander, R-Ooltewah)
District 9 includes Harrison and Ooltewah, as well as part of Collegedale.
With approximately 30% growth, the district will be divided along Snow Hill Road and Highway 58 on the new map, moving the part of the district east of Highway 58 to District 10 and leaving a significant part of the current district, Highlander says.
A PDF file of the current map is available at bit.ly/HamiltonCountyDistricts. The new map is available at bit.ly/NewDistricts.
Contact Logan Hullinger by phone at 814-319-5158 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @LoganHullinger.