Your chance to directly decide how to spend the City’s money is finally here. Starting April 2, City Council District 6 is welcoming Upper West Siders to cast their ballot as part of Vote Week’s participatory budgeting process.
“Participatory budgeting is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend $1 million on capital projects. Qualifying projects must cost at least $50,000 and have a lifespan of at least 5 years. Funds for this program can be used for physical improvements that benefit the public,” according to the Office of Council Member Gale Brewer.
There are nine different projects on the ballot for the neighborhood (pickleball courts didn’t make it). Three are for security cameras, two are for grants, and the remaining four involve infrastructure, a going green initiative, fitness equipment, and bus countdown timers. Here’s a brief description of each from the City’s official webpage.
Security Camera Purchases:
- 15 security cameras at Westside Urban Renewal – $600,000
- Eight security cameras on Broadway, Amsterdam, Columbus, and Riverside Drive – $320,000
- Four security cameras for the ground floor of De Hostos Houses – $72,000
- Purchase 12 Promethean Boards, 30 laptops, and one laptop cart to ensure each classroom has a smart board with said laptops connected to the smart board for two local schools – $117,000
- The equipment purchased with the approval of each grant would be identical (12 Promethean Boards, 30 laptops, and one laptop cart per school)
- Votes for the two grants are separate: $117,000 for grades K-5 at the Sarah Anderson School (P.S. 9) and $117,000 for grades 5-8 at the Center School (M.S. 243), both located at 100 West 84th Street
Infrastructure, Going Green Initiative, Fitness Equipment, and Bus Countdown Timers:
- Replace fixtures, stalls, floor/wall tiling, and create ADA accessibility at two existing student restrooms at Jessie Isadore Straus School (P.S. 199) for grades K-5 at 270 West 70th Street – $300,000
- Improve neighborhood aesthetic and create some shade with the installation of approximately 35 trees & tree guards on the sidewalks along Broadway (exact locations to be determined) – $250,000
- Purchase exercise equipment for adult use that includes a section for group classes and a cooling mist fixture in Riverside Park (exact location to be created is TBD) – $300,000
- Install four bus arrival time countdown timers on northbound & southbound multiple-route bus stops on Broadway, where they intersect with crosstown routes – $320,000
But there is a catch … or two. Not everyone on the Upper West Side is eligible to participate. Brewer’s District 6 covers all the entirety of Central Park and west to the Hudson River starting at Midtown’s West 54th Street up to West 96th Street. The district then splits.
Streets on the west side of Broadway from 96th to 108th are included while streets on the east side of Broadway to Central Park West are part of Council Member’s Shaun Abreu’s District 7, which is currently not participating in the eleventh cycle of the People’s Budget.
Vote Week runs from April 2 to April 10 at these locations or online. The announcement of the votes will take place from April 17 to April 22 with funded projects headed for inclusion in the City budget during that same period.