Residents of Sunset Park and Red Hook’s City Council District 38 have the opportunity to vote for the projects they’d like to see funded through the city’s Participatory Budgeting program.
Many of this year’s proposals, which were crowdsourced by community members, deal with better equipping neighborhood school buildings and beautifying the district by planting more trees along its commercial corridors.
The participatory budgeting process dates back to 1989, but in 2011, four members of the New York City Council launched an effort to allow those they represent to allocate part of the pols’ capital discretionary funds. Since then, a majority of the Council has worked to bring Participatory Budgeting to their district, giving community members the chance to delegate how a portion of their pols’ dedicated funding is spent.
Four councilmembers have decided to offer the program to their constituents on its tenth anniversary — including District 33 Councilmember Steven Levin, 38 Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, and District 39 Councilmember Brad Lander. Manhattan Councilmember Ben Kallos also restarted the program in his district in the Big Apple.
Through April 14, residents of Menchaca’s waterfront district can vote for three of the six proposed projects. The proposal that receive the highest number of votes within the nine-day voting span will be included in the city’s budget and given up to $2 million of the pol’s discretionary funding amount.
But not all hope is lost for lower-ranking proposals. Oftentimes, councilmembers will allocate additional funding if proposals that did not win receive ample support.
Here’s a rundown of what District 38 residents can vote on:
$2 million available. Voters can select three projects.
PS 69 Schoolyard Update ($500,000): This proposal would address the crumbling schoolyard at the Sunset Park school. If selected, the schoolyard will be outfitted with additional gate openings, outdoor lighting and new basketball hoops.
PS 10 and K290 WiFi Project ($100,000): This project proposes rewiring the WiFi reception in two Greenwood Heights schools that both experience signal issues.
Plant 100 New Trees on Third Avenue ($180,000): This project would plant 100 trees along Third Avenue in Greenwood Heights and Sunset Park to reduce air pollution from the Gowanus Expressway.
Summit Academy Charter School and PS 676 AV Room and Speaker System Upgrade ($650,000): This proposal would upgrade the intercom system at the two Red Hook schools.
New Trees with Tree Guards ($260,000): This project would plant trees with protective guards across the district.
Security Cameras along 7th Avenue ($600,000): This project would install surveillance cameras along Sunset Park’s Seventh Avenue, pending a study from New York’s Finest.
Voting takes place between April 5 and 14 on the District 33 Participatory Budgeting website.