Should Brooklyn Get Better Bathrooms or New Dog Runs? You Can Decide

Photo by Edrei Rodriguez

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    The time has come for you to judge your neighbors’ proposals for making a better Brooklyn, from a water-cleaning machine to better pup playgrounds. 

    Through the participatory budgeting program, now in its sixth year, City Council members allow residents to allocate $1.5 million in capital discretionary funds for various local projects. In the past, residents have voted to support the creation of the Park Slope Library Storytelling Garden, new smart boards and restrooms for various borough schools, among other things.

    Now that volunteers have researched the cost and parameters of ideas brainstormed by residents at a series of neighborhood assemblies, a final ballot of projects has been prepared for all 11 participating Brooklyn districts. (Those would be districts 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 44, 45 and 47.) Now, residents must vote.

    This year’s ballot includes multiple indoor sports facilities borough wide asking for the installation of air conditioning, schools in need of repairs for “decrepit” bathrooms, requests for real time information boards for public transit, and security upgrades and camera installations in public housing, among a myriad of other projects.

    Perhaps the most memorable request comes from District 40, where residents propose a $140,000 replacement of the “Lake Mess Monster,” an aquatic weed harvester that has vigilantly removed invasive plants from the Prospect Park Lake for years.

    District 40 will also be voting on the creation of a new dog run, an amenity envisioned in quite a few districts.

    In District 39, one balloted project is “Mobile Studios,” to be used by Gowanus artists and organizations to “engage the public on local issues like displacement.” In District 33, the people have proposed adding more turnstiles to the sometimes congested York Street F train station.

    For a full list of this year’s participatory budgeting ideas, see the New York City Council’s map of finalized proposals.

    Vote week will be Saturday, March 26, through Friday, April 3, at multiple locations across the borough. For a list of voting locations, visit the New York City Council’s website, click on your council member, and look on his or her page under “Where do I vote?”

    Participatory budgeting

    Image via the New York City Council’s map of participatory budgeting

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