May 9, 2018 By Christian Murray
Residents voted to spend $500,000 to revamp the children’s room at the Woodside Library, $300,000 on new trees and $300,000 on bus countdown clocks—among other projects–when they went to the polls in April to determine how $1 million-plus of city funds should be spent in the district.
Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer announced the results at Jack’s Fire House in Sunnyside Wednesday. Residents selected the winning projects when they voted between April 7 and 15 in a process called participatory budgeting.
About 7,100 residents of the 26th Council District—which encompasses Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City and a western portion of Astoria—got to vote on 15 proposals that were selected by volunteers over several months. Voters, who had to be at least 11 years old, had to select up to five projects they wanted to fund.
The proposal that received the most votes—4,785 in all—was for $500,000 of tech upgrades at five schools in the district—PS 112Q in Long Island City, PS 150Q in Sunnyside, PS 12Q in Woodside, PS 166Q in Astoria and IS 125 in Woodside. The funds will be spent on items such as laptop carts, desktop computers and interactive boards.
The second most popular project was for the children’s room and auditorium at the Woodside Branch Library, located at 54-22 Skillman Ave. A total of 2,159 votes were cast for the project that will see $500,000 allocated toward the upgrade.
The third most popular item was for gymnasium renovations at PS 111Q and PS 112Q, both located in Long Island City. The project, which generated 2,147 votes, will result in $900,000 being spent to replace wall padding, floors, benches and ceiling repairs.
Residents voted to spend $300,000 on bus countdown clocks that will be placed throughout the district. The project received 1,921 votes.
The fifth most popular project, with 1807 votes, called for allocation of $300,000 of street trees to be placed throughout the district.
Finally, Van Bramer said that $79,000 would be spent on new computers and network upgrades at the Borden Avenue Veterans Shelter.
Van Bramer added $1.6 million on top of the original $1 million initially allocated for participatory budgeting. He said he was motivated to add funds due record voter turnout for the district this year–more than 2,000 more votes cast than last year.
“This is what democracy is about,” Van Bramer said at the reveal event. “It’s about people taking a stand as to what they want and shaping the future of the district.”
The funding for all these projects will be allocated next month and then the projects will go through a scoping, procurement and construction process over the following two years.