East Grand Forks City Council members review redistricting options

With the 2020 census information now released, the city must make a new ward map.

East Grand Forks City Hall
East Grand Forks City Hall. File photo Brandi Jewett/ Grand Forks Herald

EAST GRAND FORKS – Members of East Grand Forks City Council reviewed options for a new East Grand Forks ward map during a special meeting Monday night.

With the release of the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the city must begin the redistricting process. The population of 9,176 needs to be divided equally into five wards, with a goal of 1,835 people in each ward.

The first option council members reviewed would place two council members in Ward 2, with the next option placing two council members in Ward 4. Both options move council member Clarence Vetter out of Ward 1. Another option is to move council member Dale Helms, who currently serves Ward 2, out of his current ward as well.

East Grand Forks Mayor Steve Gander said he would like an option where no one has to be moved out of their current ward.

“It seems odd that someone would be redistricted out of the area that they serve in already. I know that it has been done and can be done in lots of different jurisdictions, but if it does not have to happen here, it would be better,” Gander said. “So if there’s an option that we can all live with that does not move someone out of their district, I think that would be a good thing.”


Helms said he feels the city is going to grow south, meaning Wards 1, 2 and 4 would keep moving farther south as well.

East Grand Forks City Planner Nancy Ellis said Ward 4 will continue to grow toward the Red Lake River.

“However we determine this, it’s going to stick for another 10 years and then we know a majority of the growth is going to be to the south,” Ellis said. “You’ll see Ward 4 continue to move south.”

Council members also talked about the effect redistricting would have on upcoming elections in the fall.

“It’s hard to find council members right now,” Ward 3 representative Tim Riopelle said.

Approval on the final ward map will be made at next week’s council meeting.

In other council news Monday, council members heard the plans, specs and order ads for bids for Fire Station One’s roof replacement, as well as roof repairs for the library.

The damage caused to the library’s roof is caused by ice and ice removal. Roof Spec Inc. proposed replacing the shingles and the Library Board has requested reviewing installing heat tape as well. The $25,300 in the Building and Maintenance Fund will cover shingling and installing the heat tape.

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 701-780-1267 or

Pronouns: She/Her
Languages: English
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