The city of Morris is officially re-districting its four wards, keeping the aldermen in the same wards, but moving some residences.
The city council approved this action during its regular meeting Monday.
“We are trying to keep the wards with similar populations and have to remain contiguous,” said Alderman Bill Martin, chairman of the Finance and Administration Committee. “It’s something the committee felt was well overdue and needed to be done.”
The city’s population is still under 15,000, so it can continue with four wards with two aldermen representing each ward, he said. But once it grows over 15,000 people, an additional ward and two aldermen will have to be added. The current population is about 13,426.
Some areas of the city will move into different wards. The area south of McKinley Street to the railroad tracks, from Illinois 47 to Price Street, will be in the Third Ward and was previously in the Fourth.
A portion of the First Ward, from Lakewood Drive east to Lisbon Street and Bedford Road south to the railroad tracks, will now be in the Second Ward. And from Lisbon Street east to Illinois 47, between Bedford and the tracks, will now be in the Fourth rather than the First.
North of U.S. 6, west to Lisbon Road, was previously in the First as well, and now is in the Fourth.
The largest sections have gone from the First to the Second and the Third.
The city’s new map will now go to the Grundy County Clerk’s office, where any precinct and polling place locations for the relocated areas will be changed.
County Clerk Lana Phillips said previously new voter registration cards are being sent this year and those who are moved into a new ward will have their new information on the card.
In other business, the council also approved vacating the remaining portion of Edwards Street, south of Waverly Street, for Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers to take over.
Years ago, the city vacated half of the street when the hospital purchased the old Garfield School property, said Mayor Richard Kopczick. The other half still had populated homes on it, so the city continued to control it.
The hospital now owns everything on both sides of Edwards.
A public hearing was held on the vacation during with the attorney for the hospital John Hanson, spoke, but no one from the public commented.
“There are no present plans for the ongoing development,” said Hanson.
But the hospital is taking over the street for long-term planning, he continued.
“This is so they don’t have to move out of town like so many other hospitals have had to do because they become landlocked,” said Kopczick after the meeting.
The city is retaining its easements on the street for utilities.