Residents vote to fund $1M worth of projects
This weekend, 2,812 residents of City Councilman Brad Lander’s Brooklyn district, which stretches from Cobble Hill through Park Slope to Kensington, voted in New York City’s second “participatory budgeting” election, a groundbreaking initiative that lets community members decide how to spend their own tax dollars on projects in their neighborhood.
Voters selected from among 24 projects proposed by neighborhood residents. The six projects receiving the most votes will be prioritized for funding as part of the City’s FY2014 budget, which will be adopted in June, with $1 million in city capital funds committed by Lander:
1) P.S. 230: Help kids connect and learn with technology — $180,000. The funds will help to install 34 Smartboards with supporting MacBooks in a high-needs school serving 1,300 students, many of whom are English-language learners..
2) Renovation of eight bathrooms, at P.S. 58, the Carroll School — $110,000. This amount will go toward replacing fixtures and flushing mechanisms. The school’s last renovation was in 1954.
3) Carroll Gardens/Windsor Terrace Library computers — $75,000. The money will fund 29 new adult and preschool computers at these branches to support community needs for internet access & computer literacy.
4) Church Avenue traffic and pedestrian safety improvements — $300,000. The funds will extend sidewalks and reduce crossing distances on Church Avenue at tje Coney Island Avenue and McDonald Avenue intersections.
5) P.S. 179: Technology upgrade for underserved school — $115,000. The money will buy 27 SmartBoards for this high-needs school to help English language learners, special education and gifted students.
6) 3rd Street Green Corridor: New Trees, Less Runoff — $170,000. Ten new trees with enhanced tree pits will be installed in Gowanus from Bond Street to Third Avenue, and they are expected to improve storm drainage and add shade and beauty.
“I am amazed by the turnout and cross-community collaboration we saw over the last week,” said Councilman Lander. “After one of the more trying years in our city’s history, it would be easy to divide into factions and work against each other for funding for our corner of the city. But New Yorkers are showing a better way forward and are working together to make the tough decisions that make all of our communities stronger.”
Participatory Budgeting elections took place in eight City Council districts across the city over the last week. Each Council Member has committed to allocate $1 million to the projects selected by his or her constituents.
The annual Participatory Budgeting cycle began in the fall, with neighborhood assemblies” where residents gave their ideas for how to spend $1 million in the neighborhood. Attendees formed “budget delegate committees” and met to review, research, and develop ideas into complete proposals for the ballot.
The ballot included 24 proposed projects, which were developed by residents of the district. Projects included school technology and bathrooms, “bus countdown clocks,” a high school film lab, new park equipment, and security cameras for high-crime intersections. All 24 projects can be viewed at BradLander.com/PBballot.
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