Ward 3 has new rep­re­sen­ta­tive

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - MELISSA GUTE Melissa Gute can be reached at mgute@nwadg.com or on Twit­ter @NWAMelissa.

BENTONVILLE — Tom Hoehn is the new­est Ward 3 rep­re­sen­ta­tive af­ter James Smith left the

City Coun­cil seat va­cant ear­lier this month.

The coun­cil ap­pointed Hoehn af­ter hear­ing from eight in­ter­ested res­i­dents.

Each had three min­utes to make their case why they would be best for the po­si­tion.

There was no dis­cus­sion among sit­ting coun­cil mem­bers, and Ward 1’s Chad Goss mo­tioned to ap­point Hoehn. Four other coun­cil mem­bers agreed by rais­ing their hand.

Ward 3 is the south­west area of the city. It is bounded by South­west Sec­ond Street and West Cen­tral Av­enue to the north and South­west A Street and South Wal­ton Boule­vard to the east.

Smith’s last coun­cil meet­ing was June 27. He and his fam­ily moved to Pagosa Springs, Colo., where he took a job with a com­mu­nity bank.

Goss said af­ter the meet­ing Hoehn has al­ready been con­tribut­ing to down­town through different or­ga­ni­za­tions.

“His re­sume’s stel­lar, es­pe­cially work­ing for Wal-Mart in so­cial me­dia,” Goss said. “He can ac­tively en­gage res­i­dents in a way we cur­rently don’t have the ex­per­tise to.”

Hoehn and his fam­ily moved to Bentonville 5 1/2 years ago. He’s Wal-Mart’s se­nior di­rec­tor of dig­i­tal/so­cial mar­ket­ing.

He and his wife have been mar­ried for 32 years. They have four grown chil­dren, the youngest of which is a Univer­sity of Arkansas stu­dent, ac­cord­ing to Hoehn’s let­ter of in­ter­est to the mayor’s of­fice.

Hoehn also serves on the Peel Man­sion-Comp­ton Gar­dens Foun­da­tion board and been in­volved in pro­gram­ming for the Bentonville Film Fes­ti­val.

“It’s fun and it’s ex­cit­ing and it’s chal­leng­ing and re­ward­ing to be a part of the vi­brancy and growth of this com­mu­nity,” he said af­ter the meet­ing. “I look for­ward to serv­ing on the coun­cil.”

The coun­cil also agreed to new ward bound­aries in an ef­fort to make the pop­u­la­tions more bal­anced.

The new ward keeps four quad­rants but moves bound­ary lines. Ward 1 is north of Cen­tral Av­enue and east of Wal­ton Boule­vard. Ward 2 is north of South­west 14th Street and west of Wal­ton Boule­vard. Ward 3 is south of South­west 14th Street and west of South­west I Street. Ward 4 is south of Cen­tral Av­enue and west of South­west I Street.

Ge­orge Spence, city at­tor­ney, and coun­cil mem­bers have been dis­cussing the need to re­draw the ward bound­aries since Fe­bru­ary as Ward 3 has nearly 47 per­cent of the city’s 44,000 pop­u­la­tion.

Ward 3 has 20,788 res­i­dents. Ward 1 has 6,605. Ward 2 has 7,583. Ward 4 has 8,961.

Spence pre­sented the coun­cil with four op­tions in April. The coun­cil mem­bers talked about tweaks that could be made to one of the maps, which re­sulted in four more op­tions pre­sented in May.

The map agreed upon Tues­day puts 12,410 res­i­dents, or 28 per­cent, of the city’s pop­u­la­tion in Ward 3, keep­ing it the largest ward. Ward 4 would be the next largest with 11,610 res­i­dents, or 26 per­cent.

Ward 1 would have the small­est pop­u­la­tion at 9,577 res­i­dents, or nearly 22 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion, leav­ing Ward 2 with 10,340 res­i­dents, or about 23.5 per­cent pop­u­la­tion.

Ward 2 coun­cil mem­ber Stephanie Or­man was the only one to vote against the new bound­aries.

The se­lected map still leaves Ward 3 with the largest pop­u­la­tion, and it’s the area of the city that is grow­ing the quick­est, she said af­ter the meet­ing.

The new wards will be ex­plained in an or­di­nance, which the coun­cil will need to ap­prove, Spence said. The new bound­aries will not go into ef­fect un­til next year’s elec­tion.


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