Sept. 6, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer launched his third year of participatory budgeting Friday, a process that allows members of the district to vote on how $1 million should be spent on community improvement projects.
In the first two years of the participatory budgeting program, Van Bramer’s office has allocated over $3.3 million to capital projects throughout the 26th District, which includes Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside, Dutch Kills and a section of Astoria. Last year, more than 3,600 people participated in the budgeting process.
“Participatory budgeting gives our communities real power to implement change and have a greater say in the governance of our city,” Van Bramer said in a statement.
“This year, I hope to build on the successes of the previous two Participatory Budgeting cycles and have even more people generate ideas, serve as budget delegates, and get out to vote for their favorite projects.”
The participatory budgeting process is a nine month process, during which community members can propose and vote on projects.
In the fall there are neighborhood meetings to brainstorm improvements that community members would like to see happen. Then throughout the winter, volunteer delegates put together proposals for projects, and community members are invited to vote in the spring. Van Bramer then funds the projects that get the most votes.
Six projects got funded to the tune of $1.8 million as a result of the 2015/2016 participatory budgeting cycle.
Projects funded included a special needs playground at P4 on Skillman Avenue in Long Island City; upgrading the playground at PS 112 in Dutch Kills; renovating basketball courts at both Ravenswood and Queensbridge Houses; increasing pedestrian safety by extending the sidewalk around bus stations in Dutch Kills; and repairing the bathrooms at PS 111.
Though the exact amount allocated depends on what projects are funded, Van Bramer will earmark a minimum of $1 million for the 2016-2017 participatory budgeting process.
Van Bramer also released the dates for the first round of community assemblies for this year’s process. Residents of the 26th Council District can attend any of the assemblies to propose ideas and learn more about the participatory budgeting process:
- Thursday, September 15th at 6:00pm – Woodside on the Move, 39-42 59th St., 2nd Floor, Woodside
- Tuesday, September 20th at 6:00pm – MoMA PS1, 22-258 Jackson Ave., Long Island City
- Thursday, September 22nd at 6:00pm – Jacob Riis Settlement House, Queensbridge Houses, 10-25 41st Ave., Long Island City
- Monday, September 26th at 6:00pm – Sunnyside Library, 43-06 Greenpoint Ave., Sunnyside
- Thursday, September 29th at 6:00pm – Woodside Community Center, Woodside Houses, 50-19 Broadway, Woodside
- Wednesday, October 5th at 6:00pm – Cidado Global, 43-12 34th Ave., Astoria
- Thursday, October 6th at 7:00pm – Christ Lutheran Church, 33-57 58th St., Woodside