By Lisa Kava
On Tuesday, April 26th, four community projects were selected by Upper West Siders to receive capital funds from Council Member Gale Brewer’s discretionary funding budget. Residents of Council District 6 voted, choosing from nine finalists. Over 1,700 ballots were cast in this process, called, “Participatory Budgeting.”
Earlier this year, over 70 project ideas were submitted by residents of District 6, according to a spokesperson from CM Brewer’s office. A volunteer committee studied these proposals, discussing potential costs and feasibility with city agencies.
Voting took place in person or online. The four projects with the most votes will be added to the City Council’s 2022-23 budget proposal. If the proposal passes, it will take effect in July, 2022.
Here are the four winners:
Security Cameras on Broadway, Amsterdam, Columbus, and Riverside Drive
This project received 672 votes to install eight security cameras on the streets listed above, to help deter crime and promote public safety. Specific locations will be determined in consultation with the NYPD. $320,000 will be allotted.
Jessie Isadore Straus School Infrastructure Improvements
P.S. 199, a K-5 elementary school at 270 West 70th Street, received 617 votes to upgrade and repair two existing student restrooms. The repair will include replacing fixtures, stalls, floor/wall tiling, and installing ADA accessibility. $300,000 will be allotted.
Greening Broadway; Trees and Tree Guards on Broadway above 72nd Street
A project to install approximately 35 trees and tree guards on the sidewalks along Broadway received 592 votes. The idea is for the trees to make Broadway a more attractive destination and offer additional shade. $250,000 will be allotted.
Center School Technology Grant
M.S. 243, a middle school serving grades 5-8 at 100 West 84th Street, received 578 votes to improve technology at the school. This project includes the purchase of 12 Promethean Boards, 30 laptops, and one laptop cart so that each classroom has a smart board and laptops connected to the smart boards. $117,000 will be allotted.
Participatory Budgeting was founded in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 1989 to allow community members to help decide how public budgets were spent. Participatory Budgeting in NYC was founded in 2011 by four NYC Council Members, with the goal of enabling community residents here to have a voice in how the Council Members’ capital discretionary funds are spent.
“Participatory budgeting is an exciting opportunity for residents to get even more involved with local government,” CM Brewer said. “Upper West Siders are very civically engaged, and I am grateful for the support of volunteers who made this effort possible. I look forward to seeing these projects implemented and beautifying our streets and improving education and public safety.”