New Jackson County legislative districts keep almost all of Blue Springs in one district and put most of Independence in one district.

New Jackson County legislative districts keep almost all of Blue Springs in one district and put most of Independence in one district.

The new districts, based on figures from the 2010 census showing a shift of population to the east, were presented to the County Legislature on Monday.

County Executive Mike Sanders pointed out that redistricting can be among the most contentious of issues in government but congratulated the six-member committee – half Democrats, half Republicans – for getting the job done quickly over the last few weeks.

“They did it without acrimony, without lawsuits, without judges getting involved, without hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money,” Sanders said.

Tom Wyrsch, the Democratic chair of the committee, said both sides realized no major changes were warranted. Former state Rep. Gary Dusenberg, the Republican chair, said basically about 35,000 people had to be shifted.

“It was a good process,” Dusenberg said.

The County Charter gives the committee broad powers. It calls on the committee to draw districts that are “compact, of contiguous territory and as nearly of equal population as is practicable.” Whatever both sides agree on goes into effect without action by either the county executive or the Legislature.

The six-person committee actually had to draw two new maps. Six of the nine county legislators are elected by district. The other three are elected out of a separate set of three districts but voted on by all voters in the county.

The at-large districts each have about one-quarter of a million residents:

The 1st, represented by Theresa Garza Ruiz, D-Blue Springs, covers Independence, Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Oak Grove, Sugar Creek, Buckner, Sibley and Levasy, but it no longer reaches very far into Kansas City. It does include parts of Kansas City south of U.S. 40 and west of Lee’s Summit Road.
  The 2nd, represented by Crystal Williams, D-Kansas City, covers most of Kansas City and much of Raytown.


The 3rd District, represented by Fred Arbanas, D-Lee’s Summit, covers roughly the southern one-third of the county – Lee’s Summit, Unity Village, Greenwood, Raytown, Grandview and, now, the western edge of south Kansas City.

The other six districts, each with about 112,000 residents, will see changes as well:

The sprawling 3rd District, represented by Dennis Waits, D-Independence, becomes more compact, covering Sugar Creek and Independence north of Interstate 70. It stretches from Interstate 435 to the Little Blue River but will no longer have Sibley, Levasy or Buckner.
  The 5th District, represented by Greg Grounds, R-Blue Springs, will change. Currently it runs all the way from Oak Grove to just south of Arrowhead and Kauffman stadiums – basically a rectangle from Oak Grove to Lake Tapawingo plus an area to the west along both sides of I-70 and into parts of Kansas City.

Now that district will have a whole new shape: North of I-70, it’s everything east of the Little Blue River, including parts of Independence, plus Buckner, Levasy and Sibley. It also covers Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Oak Grove and Independence south of I-70.

The 1st District, represented by Scott Burnett, D-Kansas City, is now something like an upside down “U,” with the west side of Kansas City and downtown, then running east to I-435 and angling south and west to include the stadiums and the Blue Ridge Crossing (Wal-Mart and Lowe’s) area on the eastern edge of Kansas City.
  The 6th District, represented by Bob Spence, R-Lee’s Summit, changes but is still the southeastern corner of the county: Lee’s Summit, Lone Jack, Greenwood, Lake Lotawana, the Lakewood area and much of Raytown.
  The 2nd District, represented by James Tindall, D-Kansas City, retains much of the central, east and south sides of Kansas City, from just east of downtown to just east of the Grandview Triangle.
  The 4th District, represented by Dan Tarwater, D-Kansas City, remains the county’s southwest corner – Grandview and much of south Kansas City.