April 25, 2015 By Hannah Wulkan
Participatory Budgeting in the Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City district saw a record participation rate this year, with more than 5,000 people casting ballots for community improvement projects this year.
A total of 5,125 people voted in the Participatory Budgeting process in the 26th Council District this year, marking a 42 percent increase in votes from the 3,600 votes last year.
About a fifth of voters, or 1,077 people, cast their ballots online. This was the first year that online voting took place.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer will announce the official results of the budgeting on Friday, but said that he will fund five projects with a total of $1.58 million this year.
Though he would not say what projects will be funded, a representative for Van Bramer said that this year would mark a “big win” for students in schools.
Residents were able to vote on a list of 18 projects this year, including the expansion of the teen space at the Woodside library; revamping and repairing playgrounds and facilities at schools throughout the district; and upgrading various aspects of the Queensbridge and Ravenswood and Woodside NYCHA campuses, as well as updates to various parks throughout the district, pedestrian safety improvements in LIC, and bus countdown clocks at bus stops.
The price tags on the projects ranged from $80,000 to $1 million, and Van Bramer pledged at least $1 million in total to the most popular projects, though just as in previous years, he ended up allocating more than that.
The projects will all be funded through the city budget, which will be passed in June, and then will enter planning and community input phases before design and construction begin.
“Participatory Budgeting this year was a great success with over 5000 people coming out to vote or voting online,” Van Bramer said. “Because of the overwhelming enthusiasm for this year’s projects, I’m proud to say we will go beyond the $1 million promised and fund 5 projects at over $1.5 million dollars. To find out which projects won, make sure to come out to our Participatory Budgeting announcement on Friday at 4pm at the Woodside Library.”