April 30, By Christian Murray
Area schools are about to receive an injection of funds following the results of this year’s participatory budgeting process where residents got to vote on how more than $1 million should be spent in the district.
More than 5,000 residents within the Sunnyside, Woodside, Astoria and Long Island City district voted for the top five projects they wanted to be funded from a slate of 18. The five totaled $1.6 million– more than the standard $1 million limit– but Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said they would be funded.
The results were announced at Woodside Library Friday with more than 100 school children from across the district in attendance. Many children got to vote since the minimum voting age was 14 years.
The most popular item on the ballot that will be funded was for mobile laptops and carts that will be purchased for seven schools, namely the Academy of American Studies (LIC), Aviation High School (LIC), P.S. 12 (Woodside), P.S. 111 (LIC), P.S. 112 (LIC), P.S. 76 (LIC) and P.S. 166 (Astoria). The price tag for these items is $700,000.
The second most popular item on the ballot that will be funded was for $450,000 of bathroom repairs that will be split among P.S. 112 (LIC), P.S. 12 (LIC) and P.S. 199 (Sunnyside).
Other items that will be funded include: water fountains at PS 112 (LIC), at a cost of $80,000; the expansion of the meeting room in the teen space at the Woodside Library to the tune of $150,000; and new bus countdown clocks–at a cost of $200,000– that will spread throughout the district.
One item that was on the ballot that did not receive enough votes to win was funded by Van Bramer.
Van Bramer decided to allocate $300,000 toward upgrading the performance space at PS 111 in Long Island City and PS 166 in Astoria.
Items dealing with park upgrades missed out. For instance, the shade canopy at the Hunters Point South Park Playground and upgrades to Gordon Triangle at 44th Drive and Vernon Blvd. didn’t generate enough votes.