March 21, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer has released the ballot items for the fourth round of participatory budgeting in District 26. Over half of the proposed projects are located in Long Island City and Astoria.
Under participatory budgeting, residents can vote on how to spend capital funds on projects such as schools improvements, parks, libraries and more in Council District 26, which primarily covers Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside. This round of participatory budgeting will see at least $1 million dedicated to a variety of neighborhood improvements.
Out of the eight proposed projects for Long Island City and Astoria, three include upgrades and renovations at schools. An option to renovate the gyms at P.S. 111 and P.S. 112 for $900,000—the biggest ticket item—would include replacing wall padding, floors, benches and ceiling repairs.
Auditorium upgrades for the Academy of American Studies and the Newcomers High School has also made the ballot, coming in at $250,000. The work includes upgrading the stage lighting system at the single auditorium used by both schools.
A $500,000 proposal to renovate the playground at P.S. 111 is also on the ballot, which includes adding a new slide, climbing apparatus, and rubber mats padding.
Outside of school improvements, other proposals in Long Island City call for $79,000 in technology upgrades at the Borden Avenue Veterans shelter, and installing year-round exercise equipment at the Queensbridge Park for $450,000.
In Astoria, a $50,000 proposal to install a CCTV security system at the Broadway Library is included in this round’s ballot. And at the Ravenswood Houses on the Astoria and Long Island City border, a $500,000 proposal has been listed for a community constructed soil science lab. The lab would test, mix, and deliver clean soil to NYCHA gardens to grow healthy food.
Outside of Long Island City and Astoria, five projects have been laid out of the Woodside and Sunnyside area. The projects focus on the Woodside Houses, school auditorium upgrades, and renovating the Woodside Library.
District-wide projects include a $300,000 proposal for bus countdown clocks, technology upgrades for several elementary and middle schools, and new trees to be planted primarily in Long Island City and Astoria.
District 26 residents ages 14 and up can cast up to five votes on the projects they want to see come to life in their neighborhoods.
The 15 ballot items were selected after several community meetings from September to October last year, in which attendees pitched capital project ideas to be added for this round.
“Community members have been working hard for months to narrow down hundreds of projects to the final 15,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer in a statement. “All of these projects—from school playground renovations to technology upgrades at the Veterans Shelter, to bus countdown clocks—are great and would improve the quality of life for people in our community! In addition to the in-person voting locations, online voting is available again this year. I hope to see a record number of voters, making this a true community-driven and democratic process!”
Voting starts on April 7 both online and in person, with the winning projects to be announced by the end of June 2018, before the City Council passes the budget for the following year. The projects will then be included in the budget for 2019.
Online voting will be through the city council’s participatory budgeting website, which is not yet active. Click here for a full list of voting locations and times.
Over 5,000 people voted in the last round of participatory budgeting for the district, and voters decided to allocate approximately $1.8 million toward schools improvements and new bus countdown clocks.