For the fourth year in a row, City Council Member Brad Lander is organizing info sessions and voting for participatory budgeting. Lander has committed $1,500,000 from the city budget to make five public works projects a reality, and residents of the 39th District will decide how the money will be spent.

There are 13 proposals on the ballot, including an art installation for the 4th Avenue-9th Street subway station (pictured above), a storytelling garden at the Park Slope Library, new technology for local arts nonprofits, an A/C for the cafeteria at P.S. 124 in Park Slope, and street greening projects in Windsor Terrace and Gowanus.


It’s that time of year when Brooklynites can decide how their tax dollars will be spent by attending participatory budgeting meetings on transit, parks, arts and education. Councilmember Brad Lander’s office has organized five meetings between now and the end of the month, to which anyone can come and suggest projects that deserve funding in the 39th Council District. (Here’s a map of the district, which encompasses Columbia Street Waterfront, Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Gowanus, Park Slope, Kensington, Ditmas Park, Carroll Gardens, Prospect Park, Windsor Terrace and Borough Park.)

Projects funded by the last round of budgeting included laptop carts for elementary school students, street safety improvements on 4th Avenue, a green roof at the Windsor Terrace Library (pictured) and an outdoor plaza at the John Jay Educational Campus in Park Slope. Click through to see the schedule and how to RSVP.


Council Member Stephen Levin has announced the five community improvement projects in District 33 that will receive $1,560,000 of city discretionary funds. Residents voted last week on how their tax dollars should be spent in the district through a process known as participatory budgeting. Here are the projects that received the most votes, in order:

  1. Repairs at four NYCHA playgrounds — Gowanus Houses, 572 Warren Street Houses, Wyckoff Gardens, and Jonathan Williams Plaza — will receive $400,000.
  2. The Gowanus Community Center, pictured, will get $325,000 for renovations.
  3. The McGolrick Park Playground will be completely reconstructed, to the tune of $450,000.
  4. BOOKlyn Shuttle: $198,000 will be set aside to buy and retrofit bus a bus designed by Pratt Institute to “inspire, stimulate and improve the literacy of North Brooklyn’s youth.”
  5. The bathrooms at P.S. 261 will be renovated and repaired with $175,000 in funds.

Image of Gowanus Community Center via Better Late Than Never



This week, be sure to vote for Participatory Budgeting projects proposed in Queens! Three Queens City Councilmen are participating this year, including Mark Weprin, Donovan Richards and Eric Ulrich representing Districts 23, 31 and 32. Voting lasts until April 6th for all residents of the district who are 16 and older. If you are part of District 23 (Fresh Meadows, Oakland Gardens, Queens Village, Glen Oaks, Douglaston, Bayside, Hollis) vote here. Residents of District 31 (Arverne, Far Rockaway, Bayswater, Edgemere) vote here. And all those living in District 32 (Rockaway Beach, Rockaway Park, Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Neponsit, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, Woodhaven) vote here and here. You can check out the ballots for each district at the Participatory Budgeting website. Ballot items include improvements in parks, libraries, schools, transportation and public safety. UDPATE: Here’s a cool interactive map where you can see what you can vote on this week.

Participatory Budgeting Is Coming to Queens [Q’Stoner]


Three Queens City Councilmen are participating in Participatory Budgeting this spring: Mark Weprin, Donovan Richards and Eric Ulrich representing Districts 23, 31 and 32. Residents of those districts already proposed projects to be included in the budget and voting will happen from March 29th to April 6th. Keep track of the voting dates and locations at the Participatory Budgeting website. According to the Daily News, “Projects range from new fitness equipment at an Oakland Gardens park to a Rockaway boathouse.” Last year, 4,500 Queens residents voted on participatory budget projects; in District 32 residents funded renovations to a dog park and outdoor space at the Broad Channel Community Library.

Three Queens Pols Allow Residents to Decide how Millions are Spent [NY Daily News]

Photo via Twitter


Last week we had a rundown on the projects in Councilmember Brad Lander’s district that received the most votes for funding via participatory budgeting, which will receive $1 million earmarked for them in the 2013 budget. This weekend the Times had a story on the subject that included news about the other Brooklyn district that was included in the participatory budgeting experiment, that of Councilmember Jumaane Williams, whose district runs from East Flatbush to Midwood. In contrast to Lander’s district (which includes the Slope and Carroll Gardens, among other neighborhoods), which had many proposals involving educational facilities, Williams’s district was most concerned with increasing levels of security in various ways. To wit: “Security was the primary concern for Mr. Williams’s district. …The proposal that drew the most votes was a $400,000 plan for security cameras at seven locations. Residents also voted to spend $450,000 on two proposals that would add lights to each of the district’s parks and the field behind the Tilden Educational Campus, where, among the shadows, classmates of Marcus Monfiston, 16, a student there, have been attacked.” In Lander’s district, the proposal that garnered the most votes was fixing the bathrooms at P.S. 124 in Park Slope.
The Voters Speak: Yes to Bathrooms [NY Times]
Winners of Park Slope Funding Contest Announced [Brownstoner]
Screengrab via video on Tilden lighting proposal from JumaaneWilliams


Today Councilmember Brad Lander’s office sent out a release saying that the votes from this weekend have been tallied, and that seven projects garnered the most votes to receive the $1 million earmarked for them in the FY 2013 budget via participatory budgeting. There were 20 projects on the ballot. Without further ado:

1. Bathroom Renovation for the Children of PS 124 – $150,000 (Renovate two dysfunctional bathrooms that serve over 136 of the youngest students daily in a high-needs elementary school. 958 votes)

2. Brooklyn Neighbors Composting – $165,000 (Pest-free, smell-free compost system near Gowanus Canal uses 1 ton/day of kitchen food scraps collected at local greenmarkets and schools to create rich soil for our gardens, parks, and trees. 919 votes)

3. District 39 Tree Planting – $100,000 (Plant 100 new trees and install tree guards on blocks with few or no trees Parks Department will contribute an additional $85,000 to this effort for tree planting. 767 votes)

4. Technology: A Better Future for PS 154 / PS 130 Students – $140,000 (Installation of 15 Smartboards (PS 130), 45 13″ Macbook computers with 2 carts and 2 wireless printers (PS 154 grades 1, 3, & 4). 758 votes)

5. Prospect Park Pedestrian Pathway Rehabilitation – $205,000 (Repair Prospect Park pedestrian paths near Park Circle and Long Meadow to prevent flooding, add 10 trash cans in park. 648 votes)

6. Pedestrian Hazards at the Prospect Expressway – $200,000 (Repairs & additions to badly damaged and dangerous 9 lane Prospect Expressway pedestrian crossing at Church Avenue, area and landscape. 606 votes)

7. Kensington Library Resources and Community Space – $80,000 (New books/DVDs for library, equipment for meetings, storytelling, rehearsals, and small performances promoting Kensington’s cultural diversity. 582 votes)

The release also notes the following: “Lander also committed to push forward on several other projects on the ballot that did not receive enough votes to qualify for a share of the $1 million, but around which community residents have coalesced: Getting ‘bus countdown clocks’ at bus shelters; Working with Kensington’s Bangladeshi community to create an “International Mother Language” monument as part of the renovation of Dome Playground; Address flooding and other improvements at the Ft. Hamilton F/G subway station.; Getting DOT to repave 50th Street between Ft. Hamilton Parkway & 13th Avenue; and Facilitating more community access, WiFi, and amenities at the Carroll Gardens library.” How cool would bus countdown clocks be?
Vote for Participatory Budgeting Projects [Brownstoner]
Photo of PS 124 from PropertyShark