Want to Help Spend $1 Million? Participatory Budgeting Season Returns to Brooklyn

Photos clockwise from above left by Edrei Rodriguez, City Council, NYC Parks, NYC

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    City Council’s participatory budgeting program is gearing up for its sixth season, with 10 Brooklyn districts participating this year. (Participating districts are District 34, 35, 36, 38, 39, 40, 44, 45, 47 and 49.)

    Begun in 2011, participatory budgeting is a program in which City Council members allow residents to allocate capital discretionary funds for various local projects. Last year, for the 2015-2016 cycle, more than 67,000 residents voted to allocate $38 million to capital projects spawned from local ideas, according to the City Council. Of the winning projects, all of which are recorded on the New York City Council’s website’s Participatory Budgeting page, highlights include a rooftop greenhouse for Canarsie’s P.S. 290, a community sound studio for East Williamsburg and real-time passenger information systems for public transit in Bushwick and Williamsburg.

    mcgorlick park playground

    Greenpoint’s McGolrick Park playground got an update via participatory budgeting in 2014. Photo by NYC Parks

    For the rest of the calendar year, there will be neighborhood assemblies, delegate elections and orientations in which communities will come together in public meetings to brainstorm project ideas and learn about the participatory budgeting process.

    Draft project proposals will be made, revised and voted on, with implementation typically beginning in April.

    participatory budgeting map

    Map showing funded projects for 2015. Image via New York City Council Participatory Budgeting

    Coming up, District 39 — represented by Brad Lander and covering Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Gowanus, Kensington and Park Slope — already has neighborhood assemblies planned, with meetings scheduled for September 19 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Carroll Gardens Library, September 22 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Park Slope Library and September 28 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at P.S. 320.

    Robert Cornegy of District 36 held a kick-off meeting for residents to share ideas and volunteer to participate at Restoration Plaza in Bed Stuy Friday, according to DNAinfo.

    For more information, see the participatory budgeting section on the City Council’s website.

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