ST. CLOUD – Population growth on the west and south sides of St. Cloud has forced the city to draw new boundaries for its ward system.
St. Cloud grew 5% from 2010 to 2020, with much of the growth in Wards 3 and 4. Meanwhile, Ward 1, which includes downtown, the University of State of St. Cloud and some central neighborhoods, has seen a decline in the number of residents. . But the population difference for the wards was less than 1,000 residents, according to Mayor Dave Kleis, so the ward system did not require an overhaul.
“The neighborhood redistricting map really keeps it intact. It just changes certain neighborhoods by blocks or streets,” Kleis said.
St. Cloud has four wards, each with seven precincts. The city’s seven-member council is made up of representatives from each ward, as well as three members at large. This fall, the four ward seats are up for election.
The city must update its neighborhood map once a decade when states redraw the boundaries of congressional and legislative districts after the decennial census. Updated maps show changes to the boundaries of House Districts 14A and 14B, which run through the city.
The old boundaries showed much of the north and east part of the city in house district 14B, with parts of the west and south side in 14A. The new map shows a more north-south split with parts of the Lake George neighborhood and the Southside University neighborhood moving into District 14A.
“The goal is not to separate a precinct into two legislative districts. That’s why we’re waiting for the state to draw the lines,” Kleis said.
The city’s races are nonpartisan, so Kleis doesn’t anticipate any reaction from residents to the proposed map, which the city released Wednesday. Residents can comment on the changes until March 28, when city council will vote on whether to approve the updated map.
Each of the four neighborhoods has approximately 17,200 inhabitants. Ward 2, which includes a section of the north side along the Mississippi River and the east side of the city, has not changed much in population from 2010 to 2020.
The growing population was Ward 3, which includes the western part of the city and part of the north side, and Ward 4, which includes much of the southwest side of the city. To even out population differences, Ward 1 expands geographically north and west.
Kleis said the city’s charter requires neighborhoods to be within a quarter of a 1% variance for population size, which is about 170 residents.