March 8, 2016 By Jackie Strawbridge
Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer has released the ballot items for his district’s Participatory Budgeting session, with three of 19 projects slated for Sunnyside/Woodside.
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.
The biggest ticket project in the neighborhood is a $450,000 proposed auditorium repair for Aviation High School, located at 45-30 36th St, which is technically just over the Sunnyside border in Long Island City. This would involve purchasing new stage curtains and lighting.
PS 150, at 40-01 43rd Ave., is on the ballot for new laptops, as part of a $210,000 tech upgrade covering that school and Long Island City’s Academy of American Studies.
And in Woodside, a $300,000 grounds renovation for Woodside Houses is on the ballot, which would involve replacing asphalt, fencing and greening to beautify areas within the budget.
Most of the proposed projects would be in Long Island City/Dutch Kills, mostly involving education upgrades.
The most expensive single item on the ballot is a $500,000 shade canopy for the Hunters Point South Park playground.
This year’s ballot marks a shift in project distribution from last year, which featured Sunnyside and particularly Woodside more heavily and also had eight more total items.
When asked about each neighborhood’s representation on this year’s ballot, Van Bramer spokesperson Arielle Swernoff said that the office does not feel there is an imbalance. She cited the Woodside Houses upgrades as one of the “major projects.”
“What it comes down to is it’s a community driven process,” she said. “This [ballot] is what community members from across the district have come up with.”
The ballot proposals were narrowed down with the help of local budget delegates from ideas that were floated last fall in neighborhood assemblies, several of which took place in Sunnyside/Woodside.
“Budget delegates came from all over the district,” Swernoff said.
“Each and every one of the 19 projects would be fantastic additions to our community,” Van Bramer said in a statement released with the ballot guide.
“Community members narrowed down the list of hundreds of ideas to 19 real, implementable projects. These projects run the gamut from school improvements to pedestrian safety to improvements in NYCHA houses. 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.