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Participatory Budgeting Ballot Items Revealed; Include Hunters Point Playground Canopy, Education Upgrades

Councilman Van Bramer

Councilman Van Bramer

March 8, 2016 By Jackie Strawbridge

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer has released the ballot items for his district’s Participatory Budgeting session, which include upgrades for schools, public housing, parks and more.

Participatory Budgeting is a process that allows constituents to vote on how capital dollars are spent in their district. This year, more than $1 million will be allocated to the most popular projects.

Eight of the 19 projects on the ballot involve education upgrades, such as new laptops for PS 150 and the Academy of American Studies ($210,000) and a special needs playground for P4@Skillman, designed for children with autism spectrum disorders ($250,000). PS 111, PS 166, Aviation High School and IS 204/Energy Tech High School all have proposed auditorium upgrades on the ballot.

Public housing in Van Bramer’s district is also heavily featured on the ballot. Proposals include grounds renovations and beautification for Queensbridge Houses, Woodside Houses and Ravenswood Houses at $300,000 each, as well as basketball court renovations at Queensbridge and Ravenswood ($350,000 per court).

The biggest ticket item on the ballot is a $500,000 canopy for the Hunter’s Point South Park playground. This project would involve the installation of a structure close to the playground that will provide shade.

Rob Basch, President of the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy, said the organization has been looking to add more shade to the park since it opened.

“It’s something that a lot of people have asked for,” Basch said. “We’re happy to see it on [the ballot].”

“Each and every one of the 19 projects would be fantastic additions to our community,” Van Bramer said in a statement. “Community members narrowed down the list of hundreds of ideas to 19 real, implementable projects… This has truly been a community-driven process in every neighborhood of the 26th Council District. Now, it’s time for the residents of Sunnyside, Woodside, Astoria and Long Island City to go vote.”

To learn more about the ballot proposals, residents can attend Van Bramer’s project expo on March 14 at Sunnyside Community Services (43-31 39th St.), 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Voting will take place from March 26 to April 3. Voting times and locations are posted below, along with the full voter’s guide of ballot proposals.

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A half a million dollars to build a canopy to shade a park? For hundreds of years around the globe, we’ve planted trees in park for shade. Oh no, that just won’t be adequate for the bunch of little pansies living in NYC these days.


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