Sunset Park renovation wins participatory budget vote
More than 6,300 cast ballots in 38th Council District
When Councilmember Carlos Menchaca gave residents in his Sunset Park-Red Hook district the chance to decide how they wanted to divide up $2 million in city budget funds for neighborhood improvement projects, they came out in droves to vote for their favorite projects.
Menchaca announced the five projects that received the highest number of votes in the 2016 participatory budgeting process, an initiative that allows councilmembers to set aside a portion of their discretionary budgets to allow everyday citizens a say in how the money will be spent on capital projects in their communities.
“We are proud to announce that our district collected over 6,300 votes, claiming the highest citywide participation rates for the third consecutive year,” Menchaca said in a statement.
Menchaca, a Democrat who represents the 38th Council District (CD), has his district take part in participatory budgeting every year.
Here are the five winning projects as voted on by the residents of the 38th CD:
#1: Sunset Park Renovation: Repaving, installing 20 new benches, replacing existing dilapidated chain-link fences and adding picnic tables.
#2: School Library Update: Renovating Middle School 88 and Sunset Park High School’s library media center.
#3: Electronic “Locator” Sign Throughout District: Installing electronic arrival time bus signs along area bus routes.
#4: South Brooklyn Community High School and P.S. 169 Upgrades: Building lockers and renovating bathrooms at P.S. 169.
#5: Auditorium Upgrade for Middle School 88 and Middle School 136: Building multi-purpose auditoriums that are handicapped-accessible community spaces.
The winning projects will be funded in the new city budget. The budget is expected to be approved by the City Council by June 30.
“There were five winning projects and no real losers,” Menchaca stated. “What do I mean by this? No project on the ballot received less than 1,000 votes, which truly demonstrates our success in getting people to the polls. Ultimately, our community chose great projects and showed strong support for each ballot item.”
Before casting ballots, residents attended workshops where ideas for projects were presented to them for their consideration. Voting took place from March 27 to April 3, with voting locations open across the district. Menchaca’s district office at 4417 Fourth Ave. was a polling site.
Menchaca said he was also pleased with the fact that many of the residents in the district’s immigrant communities turned out to vote. “While keeping vote numbers high, we also maintained high levels of participation by non-English speakers and youth,” he said.
This year, 28 councilmembers around the city are taking part in participatory budgeting, including 10 from Brooklyn.
In addition to Menchaca, the Brooklyn councilmembers taking part are David Greenfield, Robert Cornegy Jr., Laurie Cumbo, Mathieu Eugene, Brad Lander, Stephen Levin, Antonio Reynoso, Mark Treyger and Jumaane Williams.
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