by Keith Beebe
KANE COUNTY—The Kane County recently approved new district boundaries, which will include reduction of its number of districts from 26 to 24.
The reduction is a gradual move in anticipation of when Kane County will have to reduce its number of districts to 18 once the county attains a population of 800,000, which is expected to happen sometime by 2040.
The redefined boundaries would be implemented in time for the 2012 election season. Districts are reviewed every 10 years, with the latest census having taken place in 2010.
Redistricting, by design, will take some of the load off of Kane County Board member Drew Frasz (Dist. 26—Elburn) and some other board members who oversee wide-spanning districts. Frasz currently handles Elburn, Maple Park, Kaneville, Big Rock, Blackberry Township, two-thirds of Sugar Grove Township, as well as small portions of Campton Hills and Virgil Township. The new district boundaries eliminate Sugar Grove and Big Rock from Frasz’ workload, leaving him with a somewhat smaller area to focus on.
“I am real happy (with) the way (the redistricting) turned out,” he said. “I have a nice manageable district. I enjoyed representing Big Rock and Sugar Grove, (but) I am kind of from the north end of my district, so I am maintaining the communities that I am really familiar with and have a great rapport with.”
Frasz said districts located on the western side of the county tend to be extremely large, as districts 25 (northwest corner of the county) and 26 combined cover 300 of Kane County’s 520 square miles. As a result of redrawing district boundaries, that 300 square miles will gain an extra two board members who will now handle some of the western townships.
“Instead of having two representatives, that (entire area) now has four, and that’s a good thing, in my opinion,” Frasz said. “I’m not complaining, but my district was extremely large—it had all, or parts, of eight different communities in it. The smaller rural communities, even though they are incorporated, tend to need a lot of assistance from the county for various services, so it’s a very busy district to represent. (Redistricting) will take some of the load off of me and (Rep.) T.R. (Smith, Dist. 25) and spread it around.”
Frasz also praised the work and research that went into the redistricting process.
“I’m really proud of the way our county handled this. We set up what’s called a Task Force, which is a smaller working group within the County Board,” he said. “If you look at what we did, as compared to how the state has done redistricting, ours was very nonpartisan and it was very fair to the incumbent board members. We used no consultants—everything was done in-house. It came out really nice.”
With the the board reducing its number of members to 24, one board member will retire, and another has chosen to not run for another term. Only two existing board members run against each other.
“It was very challenging (to figure out), and I am very glad we pulled it off, Frasz said.”