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East Grand Forks City Council members approve new ward map

Two council members will be moved out of their current wards

East Grand Forks City Hall
East Grand Forks City Hall. File photo Brandi Jewett/ Grand Forks Herald
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EAST GRAND FORKS – A new ward map was approved by East Grand Forks City Council members during Tuesday’s council meeting.

The redistricting process comes after the release of the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The city’s population of 9,176 needs to be equally divided into five wards.

The ward map options have been discussed by council members since December; last week, council members narrowed the options — provided by City Planner Nancy Ellis — down to one.

The new ward map will move council member Dale Helms, who currently represents Ward 2, into Ward 4 with council member Tim Johnson. Clarence Vetter, who currently represents Ward 1, also will be moved out of his current ward into Ward 2.

Though the redistricting will move those council members outside of their current wards, they will continue to serve their current ward for the remainder of their term. If they choose to run for reelection, they will need to run in the ward in which they will reside.

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Polling places for each ward have been determined, with the voting location for Ward 1 at the Senior Center, the voting location for Ward 2 at City Hall and the voting location for Wards 3-5 at Senior High School.

Helms abstained from Tuesday's vote and council member Marc DeMers wasn't present.

In other council news Tuesday:

  • Council members approved a memorandum of understanding between the city of East Grand Forks and the Northwest Regional Corrections Center in Crookston, identifying East Grand Forks' Blue Line Arena as a temporary emergency holding facility. The arena would only be used as a temporary emergency holding facility for a short-term evacuation of NWRCC inmates in the event of an emergency that would require the entire city of Crookston to be evacuated. The NWRCC already has existing agreements in place with the Crookston Sports Center and Crookston Armory building.
  • Approved the hiring of Robyn Johnson Benda as public service librarian. The position has been vacant since June of 2019; the council approved the opening in January after adjustments to the grade and updates to the job description were made. Johnson Benda will start on March 21.
  • Mayor Steve Gander proclaimed April 4 will be Childcare Provider Appreciation Day in East Grand Forks, allowing an opportunity to recognize childcare providers. "I urge all citizens to thank and encourage childcare providers for their important work," Gander said.
Meghan Arbegast grew up in Security-Widefield, Colorado. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from North Dakota State University in Fargo, in 2021.

Arbegast wrote for The Spectrum, NDSU's student newspaper, for three years and was Head News Editor for two years. She was an intern with University Relations her last two semesters of college.

Arbegast covers news pertaining to the city of Grand Forks/East Grand Forks including city hall coverage.

Readers can reach Arbegast at 719-235-8640 or MArbegast@gfherald.com.

Pronouns: She/Her
Languages: English
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