The boundaries of the 19th arrondissement would essentially return to those of 10 years ago under a new map of the city’s districts proposed by 33 aldermen, including the 19th arrondissement Ald. Matt O’Shea.
Whether that will happen remains to be seen, however, as too few city council members have agreed on a new ward map and caucuses representing black and Latino residents continue to argue over new boundaries.
O’Shea is among city council members supporting the Chicago United Map, which would expand the boundaries of the 19th Ward a few blocks east, roughly along Vincennes and Beverly Avenues. The new map would also add a few more blocks to the southeast end, east of 119th Street and Longwood Drive.
“This map increased Latino representation, strong black representation, and it creates the first Asian-American neighborhood in the city of Chicago,” O’Shea said. “It’s equally important to me that this keeps the communities of Beverly, Morgan Park and Mt. Greenwood in the 19th District. And that recovers over 1,200 residents that we lost 10 years ago in the re-mapping process.
According to the City of Chicago website, the boundaries of the 50 neighborhoods are redrawn after each U.S. census to reflect population changes within the city and to ensure that each neighborhood has approximately the same population. The census is carried out every 10 years, the most recent in 2020.
The city council needs 41 aldermen to approve a new map so the issue does not go to a referendum in the June 28 primary election, when voters would choose one of the maps.
According to reports, the deadline for the city council to agree on a new map is May 19.
The Chicago United Map is strongly supported by black members of the city council, while 15 mostly Latino members submitted the Coalition Map.
Both maps reportedly give 16 majority black neighborhoods, but the Coalition Map has 15 majority Latino neighborhoods, one more than the Chicago United Map.
Currently, the northeast limits of the 19th Ward are at 87th Street, just northeast of Prospect Avenue.
The Chicago United Map, O’Shea said, would have a northeast boundary at Winchester Avenue, just east of Dan Ryan Woods.
The Coalition Map has the 19th Ward with similar boundaries to the United Map of Chicago, the exact boundaries of which are unclear in the file provided on the City of Chicago website.
Coalition Map proponents, however, also recently introduced the People’s Coalition Map as part of an alliance with Change Illinois, another group proposing new boundaries; in this map, the 19th Ward extends well beyond Dan Ryan Woods, with the northeast limits along Ashland Avenue from 95th to 87th Street.
Proponents of the People’s Coalition map have noted that their map also creates the city’s first Asian-majority neighborhood.
However, a problem exists with the popular coalition map proposal – supporters of the coalition map already submitted a map for consideration in December that cannot be changed, unless, as the columnist reported of the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Brown, “City Council approves new map plan without reaching 41-vote threshold.
O’Shea said Chicago United Map supporters filed their proposal about three weeks ago.
“Yes, we turned in our dissertations, if you will,” he said. “You cannot recover this paper.”
Under the Chicago United Map, O’Shea said, the 19th Ward would add properties that are mostly nonresidential.
The neighborhood’s population would increase from approximately 50,400 to 52,200.
O’Shea said the ward would pick up residents who mistakenly call his office for services after the remapping process 10 years ago, even if they no longer live in the 19th Ward.
“I’m still hoping we can find a compromise,” O’Shea said, “and avoid a referendum in the June primaries.”
O’Shea said he was confident the Chicago United Map would win voter support if the issue went to a referendum.
However, he thinks the city council “should do everything in their power to prevent this” as he fears a lengthy legal battle could ensue and cost millions of dollars.
O’Shea said he recognizes other aldermen have to deal with changing boundaries on the north, south, east and west ends, but in the 19th arrondissement, which borders the suburbs, he has fewer boundaries which can change.
O’Shea said he was focusing on the city council to find common ground.
“I’m just trying to say, ‘Let’s work together.'”