Assembly approves adjustment that adds part of Kenai to Nikiski district
A small section of northern Kenai is now officially a part of the Nikiski assembly and school board districts. The decision by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly follows updated information from the 2020 Census which shows the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s districts were uneven in size, and that the Nikiski population has gotten smaller.
Following the 2020 census, the borough learned its districts were no longer equal in population size. In October, voters decided to stick with the nine-member assembly and school board districts, rather than expand to 11.
Assembly President Brent Johnson explained at a Feb. 21 meeting that after he learned the districts were uneven, he requested the borough’s mapping specialists make changes that generally kept the districts as similar to their old boundaries as possible while keeping them around the same size, at about 6,500 people in each district. His motivation, he said, was to make the district sizes legal while not confusing residents.
Because the Nikiski district’s population shrunk between the 2010 and 2020 Census, the borough was required to adjust the map. Nikiski’s district was previously 600 residents below the target figure.
That resulted in an adjustment which puts some residents who were formerly a part of the Kenai district, District 2, into the Nikiski district, District 3. The area that is now part of the Nikiski district includes neighborhoods on the east side of the Kenai Spur Highway, north of Homestead Loop Road, also called Redoubt Avenue, until the northern city limits.
The change also affects the school board district map, because those districts mirror the assembly’s.
The borough made small tweaks to other districts, too, including District 9, the South Peninsula. Overall, the changes were minor, and did not require the creation of a redistricting committee. The ordinance passed in the assembly unanimously last week.