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Upshur County Commissioners approve redistricting plan dividing Diana

By Christina Lane
Aug. 10, 2011 at 10 p.m.

GILMER - Upshur County Commissioners on Wednesday approved a redistricting plan that will be sent on to the U.S. Department of Justice. The plan evens out the county's population, but leaves the Diana community divided.

The plan calls for slight modifications to the county's precinct lines, and reduces the number of residents in Precinct 1 - the county's largest precinct - from 10,467 people to 9,907 people. It increases the number of residents in Precinct 4 - the county's smallest precinct - from 9,433 people to 9,805 people.

The goal of redistricting is to even out the county's population among the four precincts, said attorney J. Eric Magee of Allison, Bass and Associates in Austin. The ideal population for Upshur County is to have 9,827 people per precinct, or as close to that number as possible, Magee said.

Precinct 2 will have 9,807 people under the new plan while precinct 3 will have 9,790 people.

The one point of contention for one resident regarded Diana.

The Diana community has been split between precincts 1 and 2 for more than 20 years, resident John Gross said as he petitioned commissioners to put all of Diana in one precinct.

"I realize what I am asking you guys to do would affect the entire county," Gross said.

Commissioner Cole Hefner said in April that he wanted commissioners to try to place all of Diana in one precinct. However, Magee said it would have called for the county to shuffle about 1,600 people which would have resulted in all precinct lines having to be redrawn.

The plan commissioners created has slight modifications.

The boundary line separating Precinct 1 from Precinct 2 was moved from Farm Road 1649 to Gardenia Road. Residents living north of Gardenia Road and west of Farm Road 726 now will be in precinct 2. Texas 155, the dividing lines between Precincts 1 and 4, was moved to Bob-o-Link Road for a small area of Precinct 1 to give Precinct 4 an additional residents.

"Sometimes the easy thing to do is not the right thing to do," Gross said.

Though Diana is not an incorporated city, it has been growing and now has several restaurants, banks, gas stations and Gross said it soon will have its own grocery store.

"It should not be split right down the middle," he said.

Commissioners, however, unanimously approved the redistricting plan.



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