Breaking News
More () »

Charlotte preparing to redraw district lines, facing opposition from some residents

In all but one plan of the city’s options, the Hidden Valley neighborhood would move from Zone 4 into Zone 1, a district made up of areas like Uptown and NoDa.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte has grown to a city of about 900,000 people -- that means new zoning for the Queen City is in store. Every district has to have roughly the same amount of voters so no district is more advantaged than another, so now the council has to redistrict 30,000 people.

But some residents of the Hidden Valley neighborhood say they are worried redistricting could change the culture of their community. 

"Some things you have to leave the same,” Hidden Valley resident Ronald McIlwain said, adding, "We are probably the last stronghold of a coherent cohesive Black neighborhood.”

McIlwain said he remembers the history of Charlotte's Brooklyn, Smallwood, and Wilmore neighborhoods. He grew up in Charlotte's Double Oaks neighborhood. 

It's why McIlwain and fellow Hidden Valley leader Charlene Henderson are walking the neighborhood, concerned about three of the four of the city’s redistricting options currently on the table.

“The city is pushing Hidden Valley District 42 and 82 out into a district that has no common interests," Henderson said. 

In all but one plan of the city’s redistricting options, the Hidden Valley neighborhood would move from Zone 4 into Zone 1, a district made up of areas like Uptown and NoDa.

McIlwain said he worries about having to leave a predominantly Black district for a predominantly white one.

“Our voting strength would be almost depleted," he said.

Charlotte City Councilman Malcolm Graham said the city has to ensure each district has an equal amount of voters.

“There's no gerrymandering going on," Graham said. "What we’re trying to do is balance the growth.”

Graham said none of the plans diminish the Black vote in any of the districts but could extend it.

“It also makes District 1 a lot more competitive for an African American candidate to win, so it's not really gerrymandering," Graham said. 

The council is still weighing which option to take at this time, but McIlwain and Henderson say they’ll continue to fight for Map A that keeps them in Zone 4 because they say they are people, not numbers.

Contact Lana Harris at lharris@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and on Instagram.

ALSO ON WCNC CHARLOTTE: Gaston County receiving millions in federal money

ALSO ON WCNC CHARLOTTE: Nonprofit working to make Charlotte a more bike-friendly, pedestrian-friendly city

Before You Leave, Check This Out