The City Council on Tuesday unveiled its new nine-member redistricting plan that officials said has been worked on for the past six months between members of the council and Chris Anderson of the Kelly administration.
Mr. Anderson said the plan "contains no surprises. It is what everyone expected. There are no radical, wholesale changes to the current districts."
The new configuration keeps three districts that have a majority black population by at least 50 percent plus one.
Chairman Chip Henderson said that is not a "requirement" and was not mandated by Federal Judge Alan Edgar in his decision on the case that led to the current form of government. However, Judge Edgar asked the city to come up with a plan to deal with racial disparities and the plan included the three majority black districts.
Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod expressed concerns about the council "continuing to group blacks together," saying that was not in keeping with the Kelly administrations "One Chattanooga" approach.
She said she "works just as hard for my white citizens as my black ones" and she said he would be happy with a 50/50 district.
Mr. Anderson said afterward that it was decided to work out the plan in-house without public participation, then have the various council members to hold neighborhood meetings.
He said all nine council members were satisfied with the final plan.
The County Commission got public input while drafting its new districts. It shifted from nine to 11 districts.
Mr. Anderson said with the new census figures that District 4 had the most growth, and it is giving up part of its territory.
He said under the new figures that without the changes there would be just two majority black districts.
Mr. Anderson said Districts 1, 2 and 3 shifted together in a clockwise direction with Pinehill and Northmont Estates moving to District 1, neighborhoods north of Ely Road moving to District 3 and Hill City, City Greene and the Pinnacle building moving to District 2.
District 5 continues all the way to the river and now contains all of Highway 58. It also shifts into the Austin Farm neighborhood.
District 6 shifts more into District 4. Summit moves into District 6 as well as everything north of Standifer Gap Road. A small neighborhood near Airport Road also moves into District 6.
Part of East Lake moves to District 8. East of Georgia Avenue and Battery Heights are now in District 8.
District 7 now includes the north part of E. Main Street "making the neighborhood whole."
District 9 makes some shift to the east and now includes all of Highland Park.
Officials said the changes will not affect an election until three years from now.
The election in August for a new District 8 council member will use the existing district boundaries.
The council will vote on the new map on April 5.